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 applications of artificial intelligence can be found in the hotel 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%.
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. Some of the significant operational units using AI include:
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.
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.
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.
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 benefits of using artificial intelligence 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:
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.
Enhance 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.
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.
Build a 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.
10 AI tools every hotelier should know
- MARA - AI review reply generator enables hotels and businesses to respond to any reviews within seconds.
- DialogShift - Chatbot and messaging automation for guest inquiries and direct bookings.
- Allora - Provides data for guest personalization and other customer retention programs.
- Voiceplug - Quick, personalized food ordering experience.
- JoshAI - Voice and touch technology for homes and hotels.
- Mobotix - AI parking technology for hotels and other businesses.
- Hotelier AI - All-in-one guest management, CRM, guest survey, and marketing platform
- Viqal - Staff-to-guest engagement through predictive AI and autonomous guest data
- Winnow Vision - Food waste technology for hotels and other business establishments
- Meteum - Weather forecasting technology based on data from ground and space.
MARA AI Review Reply Generator
The role of online reviews in the consumer chain across industries has become indispensable. An AI review reply generator helps hotels achieve 3x faster response time to customer reviews without sacrificing the time and effort of the hoteliers. Each reply is crafted based on data extracted from each online review and industry-specific metrics.
Hotel Stadt Hamburg, a user of MARA AI technology, says that their team is really impressed with the choice of words of the AI. Not only does each of the responses generated feels more human than expected, but it also effortlessly uses various linguistic techniques for better customer engagement. With the help of MARA, the brand was able to achieve a 100% response rate, helping them create a solid online reputation and better visibility on search engines.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.