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Take Hotel Management to the Next Level with AI: Essential Tools Every Hotelier Needs

Take Hotel Management to the Next Level with AI: Essential Tools Every Hotelier Needs
Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Co-Founder & Head of Product
Uncertain about AI technology? Here are the top 10 AI solutions revolutionizing the hospitality industry.
Take Hotel Management to the Next Level with AI: Essential Tools Every Hotelier Needs
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking the hospitality industry by storm. With big hotel chains using AI robots as their concierge, it's no surprise that other hotels are following suit in gradually automating their backend operations to ensure better and consistent guest experiences.

This article will look at how leading hotels boost customer satisfaction through AI technology and other state-of-the-art tech solutions.

What does AI mean for hotels?

AI technologies empower hotels to create more efficient and personalized guest management procedures. Instead of focusing on mundane and repetitive tasks, hoteliers can now dedicate their time, energy, and brain power to other more significant tasks to provide nothing less than exceptional customer experience.

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How AI is transforming the hospitality industry?

Since 2014, several hotels are already deploying their robot concierge to serve their guests. Leading the pack is Connie, Hilton's hotelier powered by IBM's Watson supercomputer. Other hotel robots include Aloft Hotels' ALO, Yotel Hotels' Yobot, and Hotel EMC2's Cleo and Leo.

These robots are still deployed in unsizeable portions, so it's still impossible to measure their operational effectiveness. However, one thing is for sure–they are creating significant marketing buzz for their respective brands.

The International Data Collection has predicted that 70% of travel agencies and 60% of hotels will be using AI technology in the following years, completely changing the landscape of the hospitality sector. For others, this might be far-fetched, but a Gartner survey supported this prediction, suggesting that the world's use of AI had grown by a whopping 270%.

How is AI used in hotels?

Truth is, most guests can't see the spread of AI technology in the hospitality industry, as most of its applications lie in the backend hotel operations of hotels, such as automation and data science. Here’s how most hotels are using AI technologies:

Online Customer Service

This includes using chatbots, automated social media messaging, and push notifications with little to no dependence to virtual assistance. The said digital technologies allow hotel owners to answer customer inquiries 24 hours a day and seven days a week, which is almost impossible with human-to-human interaction.

Guest Personalization

In a recent survey by Hotel News Now, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for guest personalization reached 21.8% of guest satisfaction. This includes creating customized travel guides, in-house hotel experiences, and food curations, all according to their respective customers' data.

Revenue Management

In the same survey stated above, hotels' revenue management is considered the most effective area in using AI and ML, with 60% guest satisfaction. Setting smart prices, automated booking operations, market analysis and segmentation, KPI tracking, competitor analysis, and more–all fully automated through machine learning technologies. This allows hotel owners to create great value for their customers and remain competitive in the market.

Online Reputation Management

It may be surprising that even the most prominent hotel names still need help maintaining an excellent online reputation. For this reason, more hotels rely on AIs for online reputation management. In our recent article about online review statistics, recent surveys suggest that 81% of travelers read reviews before booking a hotel, making review management operations the most vital area of online reputation management.

Click here to learn more about how AIs are used in reputation management.

Data Analysis

Aside from the areas mentioned above, hotels also use AI for general data analysis. This includes inventory management, customer behavior analysis, demand forecasting, market prediction, and other operational tasks to ensure an excellent guest experience.

What are the advantages of AI in the hotel industry?

With the use of AI becoming increasingly attractive to the hospitality industry, researchers suggest that the market size of the Global AI in the Hospitality Market will grow with a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 11.26% until 2030. Here are some of the benefits key players are enjoying today due to AI:

Revenue Growth

Research conducted by Colliers International says that hotels using AI get a revenue increase of 10% and reduce costs by more than 15%, empowering brands to reach significant revenue growth.

There are various ways in which AI boosts revenue, but one of the biggest ones is its ability to help hotels maximize their occupancy rates, especially during the peak seasons.

Enhanced Customer Service

AI and ML allow hotels to go over and beyond in terms of customer service. Chatbots and automated messaging make it a lot easier to engage and interact with customers even before their check-in period. Personalization through data collection enables hoteliers to serve customers based on their individual needs.

Furthermore, review management tools allow hotels to reach out to customers through online review platforms even when they are already checked out. Thus, providing holistic customer service.

Increased Productivity

Contrary to what others perceive, AI doesn't replace people but helps them. In the hospitality industry, AI allows hotels to implement better operational processes, anticipate guest needs, mitigate risk through accurate problem-solving, and predict consumer patterns.

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Strong Online Reputation

These days, online reputation is the soul of marketing–including in the hospitality industry. Our article about online reputation management concludes that 52% of people would never consider booking a hotel without reviews despite their offers, while 94% of consumers will never do any transactions with a business with a negative online reputation.

For this matter, reputation management tools such as AI review reply generator have become a very beneficial AI technology for hotel businesses as it attracts potential customers. While other hotels are still adamant about using AIs in some areas of their business, more and more hotels are realizing the importance of AI assistance in online reputation management.

What are the disadvantages of AI in the hotel industry?

AI technologies are only as efficient and as effective as their users. This means that if hotel managers or property owners can’t use these technologies properly, they can be counterproductive, expensive, and may even bring dissatisfaction among guests.

To avoid this, make sure to get an AI technology that will fill in a certain gap within your management procedure. You can do this by checking the use cases of your AI software providers. For example, suppose the main gap in your marketing is not being able to answer and capitalize on guest reviews. In that case, it’s best to prioritize getting an AI tool to help your team write engaging and well-optimized review responses.

10 AI tools every hotelier should know

Here are the top AI tools used by hotels in providing exceptional customer experience:

  1. MARA - AI review reply generator enables hotels and businesses to respond to any reviews within seconds.
  2. DialogShift - Chatbot and messaging automation for guest inquiries and direct bookings.
  3. Allora - Provides data for guest personalization and other customer retention programs.
  4. Voiceplug - Quick, personalized food ordering experience.
  5. JoshAI - Voice and touch technology for homes and hotels.
  6. Mobotix - AI parking technology for hotels and other businesses.
  7. Hotelier AI - All-in-one guest management, CRM, guest survey, and marketing platform.
  8. Viqal - Staff-to-guest engagement through predictive AI and autonomous guest data.
  9. Winnow Vision - Food waste technology for hotels and other business establishments.
  10. Meteum - Weather forecasting technology based on data from ground and space.

1. MARA AI Review Reply Generator

Responding to online reviews can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be with an AI Review Assistant like MARA. This intuitive tool is designed to ease your Online Reputation Management process, making it more efficient, personalized, and time-saving. It offers the best and most personalized AI for responding to and analyzing your guest reviews.

a. Streamlined Review Inbox

One of the key features of MARA is the Review Inbox. Your review inbox makes responding to reviews as simple as hitting "Generate reply" and clicking "Send". The Review Inbox connects to multiple review sources, including Google, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor, giving you a panoramic view of all your reviews. You can even configure review response automation: Why not allow MARA to automatically respond to simple reviews, like 5-star Google reviews with no text, ensuring you never miss a review? Daily notifications about new reviews keep you updated and in control.

MARA AI Review Inbox
Google, Booking, and Tripadvisor reviews in one Review Inbox.

b. Data-driven Review Analytics

To help you understand and analyze the multitude of reviews, the Review Assistant also incorporates Review Analytics. This provides actionable, easy-to-understand insights that are tailored exclusively to your business. With MARA, you can quickly get the gist of all your reviews without needing to read each one. The analysis is so detailed that you can find out about specific issues like "water in the pool is too cold" or "lack of vegan breakfast option”. These insights help optimize guest experience without requiring you to be a data expert.

MARA AI Review Analytics
Actionable insights from customer reviews.

c. AI-powered Review Automation

After gaining trust in your personal AI Review Assistant, you can even go on autopilot and create automation rules. This way, you can specify which reviews should be replied to by the AI directly with no additional approval. With the configuration below, all Google reviews with no text and a star rating of 4 and above are answered automatically.

MARA AI Review Automation
Automating personalized responses has never been easier.

The most personal response AI:

MARA's AI isn't just about efficiency; it's about personalization too. The Brand Voice feature allows the AI to adapt to your tone, making sure your responses sound authentically you. Plus, with Smart Snippets, you can "teach" the AI how to respond to recurring praises or complaints. Your AI then incorporates this information into its responses, but always with different words, providing more personalized, relevant replies.

This review response assistant has quickly become a game-changer for over 2000 customers. Its promising capacity to elevate your overall rating, amplify response rates, glean insights from customer feedback, and economize both time and money, is the reason behind its growing popularity.

Managing online reviews need not be an overwhelming task. With the appropriate AI-powered software, not only can you streamline the process, but you can also personalize your responses, and derive valuable insights from the reviews. So, why hesitate to give our AI Review Assistant, MARA, a try? It's completely free for testing, doesn't require a credit card, and can be fully operational in less than five minutes.

2. DialogShift

DialogShift offers a trained AI bot for various communication modes, including website chatbot, Google My Business Messages, WhatsApp for hotels, and more. With over 109 languages, their auto-translation feature ensures that businesses can quickly attend to potential guests from across the globe.

In an interview with Lukas Frankfurth, manager at Parkhotel Emstaler Hohe, DialogShift's chatbot enabled them to answer guests in the fastest and most innovative way possible, reaching a response rate of 97%. Furthermore, inquiries that tend to be more complex are automatically redirected to employees.

dialogshift-chatbox-messaging-apps
DialogShift chatbox for various messaging app. (Source)

3. Allora

Allora's flagship offering is an AI-powered booking solution. The company takes pride in its direct-guest acquisition, leveraging 150 algorithms to personalize booking services based on cancellation risk, predictive engagement, and digital optimization.

In a case study released by Avvio, the Roomzzz Hotel decreased their travel agency dependence from 60% to 10% because of Allora's AI booking technology. The biggest chunk of their revenue now comes from direct booking on their website, enabling them to reinvest their resources in improving the guest experience.

allora-booking-technology-ai
Allora booking technology. (Source)

4. VoicePlug

VOICEplug AI empowers restaurants to offer an innovative and conversational ordering experience, all while reducing labor and operational costs. The AI voice solution can be integrated with the hotel's restaurant phone system, call center, and other online ordering systems.

In a blog released by VoicePlug, the food and restaurant industry reports an 80% employee burnout–the highest across industries. Due to the industry's direct connection to hospitality, this trend also affects hotels' productivity and revenue generation. For this reason, an AI ordering system is pivotal in streamlining tasks and reducing hours spent on mundane jobs, allowing employees to increase their efficiency and productivity.

voiceplug-ai-ordering-interface
Sample of an order via VoicePlug. (Source)

5. Josh AI

Josh AI programming language is built to support smart homes or smart hotels. Through the AI language, guests can control any smart device around their unit–their thermostat, lights, television sets, and other smart items with simple and conversational commands.

IHG Resorts and Hotels is one of the major brands to deploy the Josh AI. Brian McGuinness, SVP for Global Guest Experience Shared Services at IHG, said that their partnership with Josh.AI is an attempt to push the limits of hospitality through incorporating digital innovation and, hopefully, providing guests with epic experiences.

josh-ai-smart-devices
Josh AI smart devices. (Source)

6. Mobotix

The AI parking technology created by MOBOTIX assesses whether a parking spot is free or occupied through advanced algorithms for detecting and classifying vehicles based on deep networks. Aside from maximizing the parking space of hotels, it also aids businesses in achieving seamless parking management to ensure comfort and convenience among their guests.

Torridon Hotel UK was able to decrease the number of cameras they use to monitor their parking space through the MOBOTIX, allowing them to cut their operational cost without sacrificing the parking convenience of their guests. By using innovative MOBOTIX hemispheric technologies, it could use fewer cameras to discreetly cover larger areas, including thermal imaging cameras in the car park area, and key entry points could be achieved with just 20 MOBOTIX cameras.

mobotix-smart-parking-ai
Mobotix smart parking AI. (Source)

7. Hotelier AI

Hotelier AI is an all-in-one guest management, CRM, data, and marketing platform. Going beyond traditional CRM capability, Hotelier AI analyses guests' historical spending, stay behaviors, and social attributes giving you invaluable insight into the characteristics and needs of your core customers.

Prince Hotels and Resorts, one of the leaders in Japanese hospitality, is a user of Hotelier AI. The tech solution manages both international distribution and digital marketing of the said hotel chain. In a recent report, the business reported a 25% increase in conversion because of Hotelier AI, specifically their booking solution. The booking engine is hosted on Prince Hotels & Resorts' localized sites and integrated into their guest loyalty platform and CRS.

hotelier-ai-crm
Sample of guest profiling and experience automation via Hotelier AI. (Source)

8. Viqal AI

Viqal AI enables hotel managers to create advanced alert workflows triggered by certain customer data tracked through their existing POS and customer movement tracked by smart sensors. These workflows are then linked to staff smartwatches through the Viqal AI staff alert app, enabling them to assist guests in upselling experiences for guests depending on their behavior.

For example, you can set your front desk’s team alerts to “Connect with customer 123, set 1-hour after guest inactivity is triggered”.

Viqal reports 70% fewer guest complaints and a 20% increase in upselling among their customers. With seamless integration between your management's POS and the staff's smartwatches, guests can expect an exceptional experience.

viqal-crm-and-smartwatch
Sample of Viqal CRM and staff smartwatch. (Source)

9. Winnow Vision

Winnow Vision allows kitchens to track and analyze food waste automatically. It uses AI to help chefs quickly pinpoint waste, cut costs, and improve performance. Kitchens using Winnow typically see food waste cut in half, saving 3%-8% in reduced food purchasing costs.

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort saved $65,000 by reducing food waste through Winnow Vision. The 70% reduction in waste helps the company save on operational costs and aids their chefs as they are not wasting their time overproducing a large quantity of food that wouldn't be consumed.

hotel-dubai-jumeirah-winnow-vision-ai-restaurant
Hotel Dubai Jumeirah Resort using Winnow Vision AI. (Source)

10. Meteum

Meteum provides accurate hyperlocal weather forecasts, alerts, and interactive weather radar information in real-time by mobilizing thousands of automated weather stations around the world alongside data from radars and satellites.

While there are numerous AI and big data solutions for weather analysis, its use in the hospitality industry still hasn't been widespread. Fortunately, Red Roof Inn has successfully shown how to do it. During 2014, an estimated 2 to 3% of flights were canceled daily—that's 500 canceled flights and a total of about 90,000 stranded passengers daily. Red Roof Inn started by taking inventory of the available open data and then plucking information that would allow the hotel chain to make relevant offers to stranded airport passengers in a record-setting winter.

meteum-weather-technology
Meteum weather technology. (Source)

AI won't beat you. A person using AI will.

No one can deny that the AI solutions and innovations within the hotel industry are nothing less than astounding, mainly because we're still scratching its surface, and we're still bound to discover better technologies sooner rather than later.

Regardless of how the AI industry progresses, there is no reason to fear it. While it provides data to ensure excellent customer experience, the customer service provided by hoteliers remains unmatched. Instead of seeing AIs as threats, it's time to look at them as an opportunity to become a better and more productive hotelier.

This article is part of our hero content “The Future of Hospitality Industry: Integrating AI into Hotels and Restaurants".

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the role of AI in the travel and hospitality industry?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies allow travel and hospitality industries to provide exceptional guest experiences. By using data, businesses can recommend personalized travel ideas and accommodation options based on a customer’s profile.

What is smart hotel technology?

Smart hotel technology is a set of automated workflows that provide more efficient and personalized customer service to guests. It mostly consists of numerous Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Internet of Things (IoT) algorithms, patterned to meet hotel industry metrics.

How AI and robots can be used in the hotel industry?

AI and robots are now used to automate repetitive hotel tasks such as answering guest inquiries, completing bookings, automating check-ins, and even upselling other hotel services. This allows hoteliers to provide exceptional experiences to guests.

How robots help in changing the hotel industries?

Robots powered by AI technology are now widely used for mundane and repetitive hotel tasks such as cleaning, checking rooms, and delivering room service. Some are even tasked to aid concierges in providing information to guests.

How robot can be used as customer service at hotel?

The use of chatbots allows hotels and other travel businesses to provide 24/7 customer support through instant messaging. Furthermore, some hotels now use robots powered by AI technology to speed up check-in procedures and reduce front desk congestion.

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