The hospitality industry thrives on the “human element” – be it a restaurant, cruise or a hotel. In this increasingly competitive industry, the guest’s experience is the single most important parameter. improving and innovating customer experience is the key to long-term sustainable growth. It is not surprising that many hotels try to create personal experiences for their customers, and make it memorable for them.
Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to computers carrying out activities that were traditionally thought to require cognition to carry out. Today, with the advancements in technology, artificially intelligent machines are being used for a wide range of functions. In an industry such as hospitality, where “being human” is a very important element, artificially intelligent systems have started to make their presence felt.
Let us look at some ways how artificial intelligence is being used to improve the customer experience in the hospitality industry –
In the future, devices such as Amazon Echo might take up the role of assistants inside every room. Instead of guests picking up the phone to call the front desk, they simply will ask Echo to “order food” or “call for laundry”. Echo can also act as an assistant – it can raise the curtains, dim the lights, etc.
Customers expect businesses to be reachable throughout the day, 365 days a year. Hotels have been experimenting with chatbots to achieve this, allowing guests to book rooms bypassing the frontline staff. Chatbots can make recommendations to customers, make reservations, share information on different social media websites and offer different ways to pay. They can also be set up with customer service to handle complaints. Using platforms such as Facebook Messenger, they can be used for marketing as well.
As a result, frontline staff is freed up for handling critical interactions that only humans can provide – such as addressing complaints.
Chatbots can also prove to be useful in streamline guest communication during their stay. Chatbots can be available on the hotel’s messaging platform and can handle a large volume of service requests with ease. Repetitive queries such as “what is the wifi password” or routine requests such as room service or room cleaning can be redirected to the appropriate department without passing them through the frontline staff.
Providing personalized experiences
Hospitality businesses often have piles of data on customer preferences, but usually, do not have the time or resources to analyze it extensively. Artificial intelligence comes very handily in analyzing big data.
Artificial intelligence is a key element of big data. Big data stands for individuality. The challenge in analyzing big data is to use a vast resource of data to draw very specific conclusions about every type of customer.
Machine learning helps create a comprehensive guest profile, which can then be used to create a unique customer journey and guest experience.
Imagine this scenario – You book a hotel, and once you check in, you are welcomed with your favorite brand of lemonade. Your room is sprayed with the exact same brand of freshener you prefer, and the brand of wine in the minibar is your personal favorite.
These are all little pieces of information you might have shared online, or with a friend on a public platform. Using artificially intelligent tools, hotels can collect these breadcrumbs to give you a perfect experience. It is impossible for any frontline staff to spend this kind of time and effort on any single customer. However, with AI-enabled software, this is a breeze to implement.
Personalization is a new luxury and modern consumers expect tailor-made solutions at all touchpoints. The future of hospitality lies in knowing your customer in a deeply personal way.
Collecting feedback unintrusively
Receiving a “how was your check-in experience?” or “how do you like the room?” over mobile is far less intrusive compared to being asked by a staff member periodically. The chatbot asking these questions can also sense a bad sentiment and immediately pass it on to the manager to take corrective action.