Many of us were introduced to Artificial Intelligence or AI through movies where robots become intelligent and take over the world. However, we have been using AI for a long time in our daily lives without realising it. Google, the search engine giant was one of the first experiences a lot of people have with AI. Google uses AI technology called RankBrain, its in-house built solution. AI has now invaded every industry and has eased the lives of many. Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant have now become household names.
Bob Rogers the iconic Chief Data Scientist at Intel describes AI very succinctly as “AI is simply a group of technologies that will increasingly be used to augment human capabilities and make us better at the things we do best. It isn’t a story set in some distant future. It’s here today, and improving our lives in countless ways.”
We are now seeing increasing use of Artificial Intelligence in the Hospitality industry. Early adopters have looked at various options from simple Chatbots to robotic butlers to help enhance the customer experience. AI and machine learning software also come to play in capturing guest data and preferences and accordingly designing a unique experience for them.
58% of businesses in the travel segment is currently using Artificial Intelligence to automate many aspects of booking, recommendation, and customer service. Businesses using AI have seen a 79% increase in customer engagement by targeting the correct audiences based on information gathered by AI.
Uses of AI in the Hospitality Industry
A traveller transaction goes through multiple stages. At a high level, here is how we segregate them
Over the years, the influence of AI has spread to almost every aspect of the travel and the hospitality industry. 30% of hospitality businesses use artificial intelligence to augment at least one of their primary sales processes and most customer personalization is done using AI. Let’s look at how AI has influenced each aspect of the business
Inspiring the traveller
Persona-based travel recommendations, use of customised pictures and text are now gaining ground to entice travellers to book your hotels. KePSLA’s travel recommendation platform is one of the first in the world to do this by using deep learning and NLP solutions.
Helping in travel research
We know the power of social media and their advertising skills in helping travel brands with travel research. Expedia, Skyscanner and many others have launched their Facebook-related bots to help travellers identify the right hotel and make a booking during the research process.
Assistance with the buying decision
Customer experience now begins with the search for the hotel, and technology has paved its way for the customer to access more data than ever before. Booking sites like Lola (www.lola.com) who provide on-demand travel services have developed technologies that can not only instantly connects people to their team of travel agents who find and book flights, hotels, and cars but have been able to empower their agents with tremendous technology to make research and decisions an easy process.
There are always a few who are up for a new challenge and adapt to new technology. Many hotels have started using AI concierge. One great example of an AI concierge is Hilton World wide’s Connie, who is the first true AI-powered concierge bot.
Connie stands at 2 feet high and guests can interact with it during their check-in. Connie is powered by IBM’s Watson AI and uses WayBlazer travel database. It can provide information to guests on local attractions, places to visit, etc. Being an AI, it can learn and adapt and respond to each guest.
What future holds
AI has had a promising start in the hospitality industry and has a long way to go. The above examples prove that there is good acceptance of AI among the guests. AI helps identify and manage many data-driven tasks and increases efficiency.
Issues on data privacy is a big concern with today’s generation. Humongous amounts of data are added daily & mining the data involves many concerns such as legal issues and privacy. Governments and Corporates are getting extremely sensitive to this. However, we have seen that AI has come far ahead now to be restricted by these concerns and still has a long way to go. It has many unexplored opportunities in hospitality. Soon there will be a time when AI is integrated into all aspects of the travel and hospitality industry.