Just a few years ago, IDC – Worldwide Hospitality predicted that by 2019, AI will have been adopted by 60% of hotels worldwide. While the pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the speed of implementation, many hotels have only just begun with their technological initiatives.
NB: This is an article from Revinate
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In fact, the hospitality industry is quite behind in its AI implementation. And this could be due to many misconceptions about the practical applications of AI in resorts and casinos.
Let’s look at some of the common “myths” about implementing AI in hotels.
AI CAN REPLACE 100% OF HOTEL STAFF
Yes, the hospitality industry is facing a workforce crunch, but that doesn’t mean you can replace your staff with AI. While there may be a significant increase in AI support over the next decade (concierges, room service delivery, cleaning), it can never replace your human staff. In fact, one hotel in Japan tried it (100% AI staff of 243 robots), and it failed.
What AI can do is reduce the manual workload on your staff. Imagine if all repetitive questions from your guests were routed through an AI concierge, handling over 80% of queries. Suddenly your staff has more time to focus on guest-centric tasks, improving your guests’ relationships automatically.
AI CAN ONLY BE RUN BY DATA SCIENTISTS
Training AI algorithms are considered to be a highly technical task for data scientists. Luckily, this is a myth. While the creation of AI technology does require deep expertise in programming languages, many of today’s AI software tools are “programmable” by the business users themselves.
Many applications (such as digital concierges) use the same information your front desk or support staff uses to train the AI system to respond. For example, Facebook lets you create a chatbot in minutes to your page without any programming knowledge required.
While IT specialists are needed to integrate AI with your existing systems, most programs are designed to interact with the end-users (meaning your staff and guests) with ease.
YOU NEED DEEP POCKETS TO IMPLEMENT AI
A common misconception hotel owners have about AI is that it requires a high investment to deliver results.
While AI-level robots (think drones, self-driving cars, and robots) certainly cost a pretty penny, these aren’t the only applications that can benefit your hotel. There are many cost-effective applications of AI in hotels that can begin to pay for themselves within the first year.
For example, businesses that use AI-powered chatbots in customer service operations save around 30% of their investment over corporations that avoid bringing AI into use. Voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are all AI-powered applications common in households across the US today and can add tremendous benefit to your guest experience.
AI IS A TOOL FOR THE BIG HOTEL PLAYERS
Nope. Wrong. AI can be implemented regardless of the size of your hotel. Small hotels can also leverage the benefits of AI based on how it is deployed.
AI-based face recognition, for example, can alert the front desk to the guest’s name, length of stay, etc. This elevates the guest experience regardless of the size of the hotel or the number of guests.
Similarly, a digital concierge can upsell based on their previous interactions with the guest. What matters here is not the size of the hotel but the information from the guests’ previous stays.
AI IS AN IMPERSONAL WAY TO INTERACT WITH GUESTS
Your guests are changing, and so are their preferences. Millennials and Gen Z are driving a lot of those changes. While baby boomers are more likely to prefer human interactions, younger generations are more optimistic about AI.
Hoteliers have already begun to understand that next-gen guests prefer to self-serve in many ways. With the evolution of AI into practical applications, guests can experience seamless, real-time benefits. These guests are also aware that AI can offer them more personalized service and be available 24/7, making it easier to find answers.
Additionally, AI can even offer a level of personalization for guests or potential guests who have never interacted with your hotel before. By crunching vast amounts of data, AI can create micro-segments that hotels can use to create more ideally suited offers and have higher chances of conversion.