AI Meets Hospitality: 6 Ways the Technology is Helping Hoteliers Shine in the Crowd

Vatsal Jain
CodeX
Published in
8 min readJun 17, 2022

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Image Credit: Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Unsplash

Imagine it: You own a hotel. At any hour of the day, several things are going on simultaneously at the front desk. Case in point, guests waiting to be checked in, telephone (s) ringing, and customers shooting their queries online. And juggling many of these tasks, your staff has to welcome and serve guests with a smile on their faces, go through their paperwork carefully, be dedicated, and promptly react to inquiries.

Travelers are always searching for flights, accommodation, rental services, and taxis all the time. Even if you had an employee in every time zone, he/she could still only serve one guest at a time. Not to mention that human beings are not multi-taskers. So, what’s the best way to ensure that all of the above happen efficiently and synchronously? The answer is artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is radically transforming the business-as-usual model of the hospitality industry. On the one hand, the leading-edge technology is helping hoteliers offer a frictionless stay experience to guests. And on the other hand, businesses are minting big bucks and driving their growth by banking on AI-based solutions.

Here’s a statistic: traveling via online bookings (websites and apps) will balloon around 5X this decade. By arming your digital presence with AI in the form of data collection, chat boxes, and always-on staffing, you can grab your piece of that pie.

Scroll down to learn where and how AI is changing things upside down.

Faster Response to Customer Queries

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Long turn-around time (TAT) for chat responses via direct messaging apps has always irked customers. And in the social-media-dominated world, keeping any operational disturbance under wraps and avoiding negative word of mouth is difficult. Thanks to AI-ridden chatbots, which have been around for a while now, this obstacle now is a thing of the past.

With chatbots, or conversational AI, you can respond to customer concerns and queries in a jiffy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is highly beneficial as maintaining such response times is almost impossible with human-to-human interaction. Now, travelers can search for information fast, and hoteliers can trim the time spent answering repetitive questions.

At the same time, customer support via chatbots lets users resolve their complaints that AI automatically prioritizes and categorizes for more efficient handling. So, they no longer have to reach out with their issues to irrelevant staff members. Just use a bot to request assistance of any sort. Furthermore, you can keep tabs on problems and address them accordingly, thus taking some of the heat off your employees.

Such umpteen benefits of AI-powered chatbots have attracted significant attention of hotel owners, who are likely to increase their implementation of chatbots by 53% by 2022. The interest is even higher in independent hotels, which will see a 64% jump in chatbot usage.

Tease out Better Value from Guests’ Data

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“Data is the new oil” — this adage has already triggered brainstorming sessions in several industries. And hospitality establishments are gladly following suit. Do you know that a single transaction generates tons of data? This includes how many guests are currently dining in a restaurant, what items they’re ordering, how much they’re ordering, and how they’re paying for the entire meal.

In this capacity, you can use AI to quickly sift through colossal data chunks and draw crucial conclusions about potential or existing customers. With these insights, you can break down your guest list based on their budget, room preference, and amenities. What’s more, data analytics is also critical for assessing various surveys and guest feedback. That’s an impeccable way to fine-tune your marketing strategies and hotel operations by making well-informed decisions.

During the pre-tech era, the general manager would enter and examine all of the data for bookkeeping and inventory management operations. Manually recording the data on paper or into a spreadsheet consumes lots of hours and effort. AI tools effectively streamline these tasks, leaving you with more time to focus on what you’re best at — accommodation, food, and experiences.

Personalization Improves by Notches

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Nearly every customer has this pet peeve: they visit a hotel where they’ve stayed dozen times earlier, and the first thing the receptionist asks is, “Have you booked your rooms in our hotel before?”

AI empowers you to offer personalization on a much deeper level, and you can see it in many aspects. Case in point, a bot added to your Instagram handle can answer guests’ queries and add that information to your database. Then, you can utilize that info to tailor further interactions with the guests, like asking about their staying experience or whether they will recommend your hotel to others. Additionally, you can periodically offer special deals that match their unique needs, such as discount coupons, all-inclusive stays, kid-friendly rooms, or tickets to shows or events in the nearby area.

The personalization doesn’t end there, though. AI lets you modify every element of a guest’s stay. Offer unique services and amenities that’ll serve their needs and wants, make sound suggestions from the front desk, and so on.

Update Room Tariffs Hyper-dynamically

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In hospitality, pricing grabs the top spot when it comes to revenue management. Ever since AI, and its subset machine learning (ML), have captured this piece, it’s become the lifesaver to all pricing-related pain points.

Seasons and events are the perfect sweet spots for the hospitality business to fuel occupancy and dictate room pricing. Booking engines, paired with ML algorithms, automatically update tariffs based on customer data, insights gathered from social media about potential travelers, and real-time market intelligence to flash prices that will boost your profits.

AI-driven predictive analytics enable you to utilize market trends to sustain Revenue per available room (RevPAR) levels at guest-friendly tariffs. If deployed properly, you can have data on regular business travelers, expected guest numbers to your region, and events across the seasons per year, all on your plate. With these well-organized, actionable insights, you can create alluring deals and packages that serve your focused groups well.

As a sweetener, these AI/ML-driven systems will continue learning, optimizing, and adapting as time passes. Put differently, they’ll only get better and better.

Near Spot-on Prediction of Guest Occupancy

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Imagine this: all your hotel rooms are booked every night of the year. Likewise, people have filled every chair of your restaurant every night, with more waiting outside. Sounds like utopia? AI-based solutions will help your hospitality business inch closer to this ideal situation. Not only do they produce facts and figures but also underline trends. So, your front-desk manager gets an accurate picture of when guest occupancy is likely to slump. Such information makes it easier for you to decide when to advertise or alter your tariff structure.

Of course, serving some years in the industry, humans know when their business will enjoy peak hours and when it’ll not. But tech-enabled predictions outsmart the human mind in terms of how much data they analyze and the rate of doing so. How? Suggestions based on data analytics stem from local and regional trends, and competitors’ pricing analysis, among other factors. And you’ll see the results within minutes instead of hours or days, as is the case with putting a human into the same task.

The result will be an improved occupancy and hence, revenue.

Break the Communication Barriers between Your Business and Your Guests

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If you want your business to go global, you need to respect customers’ mother tongue. After all, language is a communication bridge, not a barrier. So, if you believe having your website content in English is sufficient, think again. Even though English is a global language and most people are fluent in it, many people still don’t feel comfortable speaking English. Stick in your mind that English is a foreign language to millions of potential guests.

That said, having your website content in multiple languages is just getting your foot in the door. Another equally crucial element is installing a multilingual chatbot into your business website. Credits to the ongoing advances in AI, natural language processing (for text) and speech recognition (for voice) enable intelligent chatbots to speak and understand tourists almost like humans.

Chatbots can now communicate in dozens of languages and with hundreds of foreign tourists at the same time. Not even your best polyglot concierge can do that. Serving a multilingual population will make your hospitality business a guest magnet and improve the odds of travelers booking with you.

Stitching the Dots

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Hospitality is a 24/7/365 industry, and its confluence with AI is no more a pipedream. The possibilities are enormous, with various leading brands already jumping on the bandwagon.

AI ties together a tourist’s complete profile to enhance personalization at check-in and deliver critical data about travel delays, arrivals, and more. The COVID-19 crisis has intensified the need to automate hotel operations, and current AI/ML tech paves the way for businesses to ensure memorable customer stays.

As more and more guests start their return to hotels, they’ll do so expecting a higher degree of convenience, comfort, and customer service as well as new experiences. Travelers’ expectations are like a rising tide, and the hospitality sector is the ship. So, integrate AI into your hospitality business and watch your conversion rates and revenue shoot.

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Vatsal Jain
CodeX
Writer for

Freelance Content Writer || Covers Diverse Topics