Like a sneaky ninja, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is subtly weaving its influence everywhere. From online shopping tips and news feeds to spam filters, GPS systems, and chatbots, it’s hard to miss how much AI is already all around us, yet we hardly ever look for it.
Now there’s a new star in town - Generative AI - representing a true step change forward that already is upending what the future of hospitality will look like.
Messaging and chatbots
Hotels that embraced messaging during the pandemic witnessed substantial improvements in customer satisfaction as guests receive instant replies (via a chatbot) to frequently asked questions (FAQs). Although the percentage of automated responses has remained relatively low across the industry, Generative AI will increase confidence levels.
For instance, once a hotel’s compendium of offerings and experiences is fed into a Generative AI model and trained to understand guest journey context, it becomes even better at answering a broader range of queries. This will give hotel staff more time to provide personalised and attentive service.
Hyper personalisation at scale Generative AI will greatly improve not only the daily duties of customer-facing staff but also the satisfaction of guests by delivering hyper-personalised service at scale.
At its most basic, hotels can tailor their services if they know, for example, that the guest is travelling for business or leisure.
But in an age where automated recommendations are the norm, there is so much more that hotels can do to increase revenue and guest satisfaction. Generative AI will make it easier for hotels to deliver on the promise of truly personalised experiences.
For the guest, Generative AI can create travel itineraries based on customers’ interests and timelines and offer personalised recommendations to enhance their stay.
Guest apps with a chat function and a real-time digital itinerary are already proving highly effective. This combination typically results in a 30% increase in average customer spending per stay, as guests find it easier to plan and enjoy their trips.
At-a-glance guest data
For hotel employees, Generative AI will deliver short guest summaries of the guests’ behaviours and needs each morning so that receptionists and concierges can provide more informed and personal assistance.
For example, the summary might show that Mr. & Mrs. Johnson went snorkelling yesterday, followed by dinner in a well-known steak restaurant. This gives the hotel teams a heightened level of awareness when in conversation with the Johnsons. If she can also see from their digital itinerary that they have free time in the afternoon, the concierge can make some personal suggestions about how the Johnsons might spend
Mitigating revenue loss
In another example, let’s say guests are at a golf resort in the late afternoon when one cancels tee time the next morning. That doesn’t leave much time to resell the slot, but an AI-powered bot could automatically send an invitation to the applicable guests in the resort that tried to get a golf session in during their stay.
Generative AI will improve automated processes that stem from a single event. So, when a cancellation occurs, it can trigger a series of actions that minimise revenue loss and
enhance the experience for other guests.
Wealthy digital natives
The luxury segment is witnessing a shift, with younger consumers becoming an increasingly important target market. Digital natives under 35 are accustomed to anticipatory services rather than reactive ones. Rather than waiting in the lobby while the concierge makes a series of telephone calls, Generative AI can meet their expectations where the guests are.
Guests typically request restaurant reservations and spa treatments on the same day or the day before. This rarely allows hotels to successfully accommodate these requests in a meaningful and efficient way.
However, by delivering an AI-powered personalised set of options for activities and experiences directly to their phones before arrival, guests are encouraged to plan and book their stays in advance. This not only reduces the burden on hotel staff but also enhances guest satisfaction, leading to more fulfilling travel experiences.
Generative AI represents an exciting progression in our ability to streamline hotel operations and increase efficiency, freeing up staff to focus on providing personalised service.
Great hospitality will always be about in-person service and the human touch. By operating unobtrusively behind the scenes, Generative AI will help the people working in our hotels shine ever brighter.
by Tristan Gadsby, CEO and founder, Alliants.