Talks of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) have taken over the business world in the past few years. We have seen implementation of innovative solutions created using A.I. across various industries. How well does A.I. influence or impact the world of hospitality, and what varieties of innovation are we bound to see in 2019?
When it comes to innovation or implementation of new age technologies in the hospitality industry, there are five categories which need to be addressed and disrupted:
- Efficient operations – is it possible to reduce overheads, increase occupancy, and sell inventories at higher costs on a budget?
- Strategy – how can hotels monitor competitor performance? How to create a clear demographic selling strategy?
- Reach – how can businesses reach and engage with its audience constantly. Can hotels generate bookings on their flagship websites, rather than via OTAs?
- Customer service – how can we excite, attend, and deliver services on time, all the time using tech solutions?
- Brand recall – once guests leave a particular hotel, how do hotels initiate brand recall, ideally to drive customer loyalty?
Any piece of technology built to address any of these factors will create a major impact in the hospitality industry.
As hotels step up their game to deliver personalized solutions, we will see more businesses hire experts to created brand experiences, such as personalized toiletries, pillow cases, custom food menu etc. A lot of customer information can be discovered through communication via many digital touch points. This is where communication analysts who pay attention to consumers’ social media profiles discover their tastes and deliver a more personalized service.
Smart speakers connected to a large screen TV, smart speakers communicating directly to the reception, solutions such as these allow guests to just speak into Google Home or Amazon Alexa and request for services. All without calling or walking to the reception. And this is just the beginning. We will see hotel chains adopt this in 2019 and in a couple of years, trickle down to resorts and homestays with decent internet connectivity.
Updates and Maintenance
Delivering the best services means deploying the best resources at the right time. Many A.I. solutions, today, allow hotels to create smart resource planning and deploy them when needed, driving down maintenance costs.
Hotels are paying more attention to what guests talk about their brand and service, especially on social media. In 2019 we will see hotels invest on monitoring consumer reviews and ratings and use it as a way to deliver consumer satisfaction.
Hotel marketing budgets will include investing on influencers who can generate bookings and also drive brand establishment and engagement on social media. Travel bloggers will see their influence grow with innovative content production on popular platforms such as Instagram and YouTube.
What’s your competitor upto?
We will see more hotels making use of intelligent Revenue Management Systems allowing them to monitor competitor performance and prices too. There are smart applications built to allow hotels to feed their past performance data and over time, allow A.I. driven applications to set room rates to match weekly and even daily demand.
Conversational booking experience
A lot many times, when people search for a particular property online, they often visit your social media pages and may be your hotel’s website too. We all know that the best way to generate a booking is through your website. However, 90 percent of the time, visitors just bounce out of your site due to a variety of reasons. An A.I. powered Chatbot can help ease the booking process on websites.
An interactive experience goes a long way to help hotels figure out visitor’s booking preferences. We will see a lot of hotels adopt the idea of generating bookings via their own websites (saving commission money paid to OTAs) and using Chatbots to deliver a more conversational booking experience to site visitors.
We will also see Chatbots built for social media platforms such as Facebook to engage and understand page visitors.
Generate guest reviews and initiate loyalty programs
Hotels will find innovative (though not new) solutions to generate guest ratings post stay. With solutions as simple as ratings card delivered on the penultimate day of the stay, to hotels offering a redeemable coupon or a complimentary service for free in return for a detailed rating and review will see daylight in 2019.
Hotels will find innovative ways of making loyalty programs more attractive to guests. Gone are the days of handing over loyalty cards. Nobody wants to add an extra card (used rarely) to their wallets. Hotels will move from physical to more value driven brand recall strategies. Such as offering hotel branded toiletries, coffee beans, tea leaves, wine or whatever famous and grown locally. This way, the guests can experience a product from the hotel long after their stay is over.
Implementation of A.I. led solutions will be driven by collecting and crunching a lot of market and consumer data. So, 2019 will be a year of harvesting data to gain invaluable insights which will influence product design as well as cutting down costs to deliver quality service.
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