Advantages and disadvantages – Hotel-Online
Donald Fomby | September 18, 2019
By Donald Fomby
Over the past few years, AI-based technologies such as voice and text assistants and chatbots have become a regular part of our lives. In fact, we should be approaching the point where we would be totally okay with AI running our homes.
Even though science fiction movies have led us to believe that the ultimate goal of AI is to conquer humanity, its primary goal is to serve us and improve our lives. Serving people and providing them with pleasant hospitality, as some of the purposes of AI make it a perfect choice for the hospitality industry.
So instead of taking over and telling us what to do, AI can help hospitality professionals improve the traveler experience. In fact, the use cases of AI in the industry are quite impressive and the technology seems well positioned to allow people to enjoy their stay.
But can hoteliers really rely on AI to make decisions? Are AI algorithms really ready to deliver useful information and streamline hotel operations?
AI applications in the hospitality industry: benefits
Try to imagine a hotel with AI where technology is responsible for everything. While this sounds like something directors should consider for their next project, having such a facility really is a lot closer than you might think.
Pro: Respond to customer questions on the hotel premises
Model One based in Germany used a robot named Sepp to answer practical questions and provide useful information to customers. Sepp’s knowledge comes from IBM’s Watson Conversation Services, which helps him understand people’s requests and learn new information to be more useful.
For example, the robot can notify customers when breakfast is served or give them a quick update on the city’s weather, among other things.
Virginia-based Hilton McLean also received an upgrade in the form of Connie, an AI-enabled concierge. This little robot – it’s about two feet tall – also takes advantage of IBM’s Watson chat services and helps visitors navigate the hotel and answer other questions.
“It’s trying to see the person as well as hearing the person,” USA Today quoted Rob High, said IBM Watson vice president and chief technology officer. â€œHe vocalizes himself and uses his arm gestures and body language. When asked “where is the elevator?” It is said to be in the hallway on the left while pointing the hallway to the left. “
Like all of the bots mentioned above, Connie is constantly learning from his interactions with guests and improving on the recommendations he provides. Hotel staff also have access to their question log so they can make quick improvements.
Pro: Hotel monitoring
Europe and the United States aren’t the only destinations where AI-enabled robots are starting to make a difference. Singapore-based Millennium Hotels and Resorts properties have been using similar technology since 2017. Six service delivery robots perform tasks such as transporting equipment to rooms and patrolling buildings.
According to reports, the company saved the security team 111 hours of work because human employees can now watch live images provided by robots instead of monitoring the facilities themselves. In addition to saving time, robots also help to more effectively manage unplanned staff absences and periods of high occupancy.
Pro: more personalized search results
But janitorial robots aren’t the only area where AI is impacting the hospitality industry. Last year, a tech company called Avvio launched the world’s first booking engine powered by machine learning, Allora. Using AI, the tool brings together information from user interactions and determines ways to optimize their experience by finding the best hotel or experience.
By personalizing the search results, the engine maximizes the chances of conversion, thus taking personalization to a whole new level. All of this is possible through the intelligent analysis of thousands of properties and guest preferences based on geography, booking history, site interactions, and other factors impacting choice of accommodation. hotel.
Pro: The ability to allow travelers to search for travel options with a chatbot
This one is also about personalization. A recent study by Booking.com found that 75% of customers preferred self-service options for getting answers to simple inquiries, which makes chatbots a perfect option in this case.
Here is the list of features and benefits that the company’s chatbot is currently capable of providing:
- Assistance with existing reservations
- Answer common questions about real estate policies
- Respond to questions regarding transportation, date changes, arrival and departure times and payment.
According to ChatbotGuide.org, the Booking.com chatbot is able to handle around 50% of user accommodation requests after booking. If it can’t provide an appropriate response, it redirects the user to a human member of the customer service team.
The problem of providing multilingual support with chatbots can also be solved by translating scripts; for this, the use of translation service review sites such as PickWriters is recommended to ensure good localization.
So in addition to helping customers manage their experiences and get responses to typical requests, chatbots are also useful for hotels to improve customer service.
AI applications in the hospitality industry: drawbacks
But will the benefits mentioned above come at a price? There have been quite a few complaints against the use of AI in many industries, including hospitality, so knowing them is certainly useful for companies looking to implement the technology.
Downside: AI continues to grow
Even though AI has made huge strides in recent years, the field is still in its infancy. In fact, Andrew Moore, vice president of Google and leader in AI, has the following to say about it: according to CNet:
â€œAI is currently very, very stupidâ€¦ It’s not something we could insist on doing general reasoning involving things like analogies or creative thinking or thinking outside the box. “
There’s even a term for it, â€œAI stupidity,â€ and people use it to describe the inability of technology to make reasonable decisions based on the available data. For example, since AI’s decisions are based on human intervention, it is possible to provide it with biased or incorrect data, thereby causing irrelevant, biased, or inappropriate decisions.
While this drawback can be overcome over time as the technology develops, it is clear that at this point, AI cannot be trusted to make important decisions.
Disadvantage: data privacy issues
This is one of the most pressing concerns that any business looking to leverage AI will face. The data collected by technology during interactions with users can potentially be used for other purposes, therefore, the risk of data privacy breach is involved.
A recent study by Intouch International also shows that customers understand this concern very well. Specifically, the company found that 9 in 10 US internet users say they are concerned about protecting their personal information online. In addition, more than 60% of those polled also advocate for stricter national laws on the protection of privacy.
This means hotels may run into issues getting more guests to use their AI-powered tools. In addition, they will also need to obey data privacy laws and ensure the ethical use of data. However, if they follow all laws and regulations, AI can become a major source of competitive advantage.
Whether it’s helping hotel staff answer guest questions or providing personalized recommendations through dedicated search engines, AI definitely has a future in the hospitality industry. However, in order for technology to become the new best friend of hoteliers and travelers, there are some significant challenges that will need to be addressed.
With more and more countries working on data privacy and other AI-related laws, it’s reasonable to suggest that the hospitality industry will have to follow a bunch of regulations to take advantage of the technology. The key to success for hoteliers here will be showing that it complements the personal side of the hospitality industry and effectively improves the guest experience.
If these requirements are met, it can be assumed that AI will soon start to change the way hotels are run.