Despite the overreaching global impact that technology has on our daily lives, many people still react with decisive scepticism whenever artificial intelligence is brought into a conversation. It may be because the topic was only until a few decades ago the stuff of science fiction, or it may be out of fear brought up from the absence of knowledge on the topic, a fear possibly further fueled by the above-mentioned fiction.
If we were to take a step back from the conundrum surrounding the topic and examine it from a purely business standpoint, then AI has a lot to offer. By providing hoteliers and guests alike a reliable and easily configurable set of services artificial intelligence is the face of change hospitality has been waiting for.
Improving Hotel Operations Through AI
I want you to consider the instructions you give your staff when training them: they must always be polite, courteous, friendly and welcoming, but not overbearing; they must also give every guest their full and undivided attention, even when more than one guest demands it at the same time. And they must do this always, as part of their everyday jobs.
The above behaviour is not natural to humans, and to demand a perfect delivery of all of these, consistently through time would be unreasonable, yet this is how the most staff is trained to perform. By effectively making your employees more robot-like in an attempt to guarantee some consistency in the service you provide you also put undue stress on them and so the end results of the service you provide remain varied.
Artificial Intelligence in the form of chatbots, for instance, can help your employees when servicing more than one guest at a time. Your front-desk attendee can be addressing onsite guest concerns while the chatbot answers query by people looking to book a stay.
Both tasks are being performed simultaneously, with your staff not having to stress over increasingly mounting tasks, allowing them to focus on your guest’s requests, while at the same time potential guests are not made to wait in order to receive the necessary information to make a reservation.
Services such as the chatbot and the self-check-in kiosks have become staples in hospitality over the last decade with guests and hoteliers alike becoming increasingly aware of the benefit of these services. But they are not in themselves replacements of traditional service, rather they offer a guarantee of a more consistent guest experience without the added expense of taking on additional employees.
Many traditional services can be easily automated to outperform their human counterpart which only frees up time for employees to focus on the human aspects of the service they provide. A prime example of this is the property management solutions (PMS) you use in order to manage bookings and update rates across your various distribution channels.
The machine learning algorithms of a channel manager can analyze big data in order to give you the best rate per room and automatically update it across all channels, which allows you to maximise revenue while significantly reducing the effort involved in achieving these results. An integrated hospitality software carries the benefit of low maintenance and customisable features which would allow you to pick the tools that would best serve your business’ needs.
Improvement Through Personalisation
The size of your business will be the first decisive factor when it comes to what AI upgrade would best suit your current business model. Smaller hotels might find the addition of a Facebook Chabot service as a way to drive up additional business through their Facebook page, a perfectly satisfactory upgrade, while small hotel chains with a hundred plus rooms per location would find a self-service kiosk invaluable when faced with large groups of guests.
Not all businesses will be equally suited to all types of AI upgrades, and while many will choose to implement an integrated PMS into their operations, the rest would be a result of what the general guest demographic prefers.
If your target guests are business travellers then the virtual assistant will certainly make a lasting impression on them. These assistants can be used to upsell guests on everything from room service to any your assorted services, while also retaining guest preference data which allows for a more personalised experience if the guest were to ever stay with you again.
Hotels are not the only hospitality niche to take advantage of AI as travel agencies are now offering guests to allow an AI to customise a travel plan for them, an offer many would be willing to take as their preferences would be met without the need to do any of the planning themselves.
Personalisation is part of the concept of AI which is why it lends itself so easily when implemented in hospitality. And it is exactly this type of personalised experience that guests of all walks of life are looking for. AI can be a useful resource that would help improve your loyalty programs by providing you with the information you need to know what your guests truly want so that you may always deliver.
The growing importance of artificial intelligence in hospitality is undeniable, but those who will stand to benefit the most are the ones who join early and use this technological perk to their business’ advantage .
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.