Tapping into the Power of AI and Machine Learning for the Hotel Industry

By Li Wang 21. April 2022

AI-machine-learning-hotel-industry

Artificial intelligence and machine-learning platforms have come a long way in recent years in terms of the scope of their capabilities and potential to provide businesses with enhanced value. In fact, 94 percent of C-level executives now believe that AI-based technologies are set to transform their organizations over the next five years.

Yet within hospitality circles, 49 percent consider that the hotel industry earns a “C” with regards to the adoption of artificial intelligence. With today’s guests increasingly demanding faster, more personalized and convenient service, this deficiency in deploying AI-based platforms risks creating a gap in a hotelier’s ability to accommodate modern guest experience expectations.

Fortunately, advances continue to be made in the field of hospitality-based AI that are providing hotel professionals with near limitless potential in integrating enhanced functionalities into their existing operations. From boosting booking volumes to tailoring services according to the unique needs of each individual guest, read on to discover how artificial intelligence is proving to be a game changer in the day-to-day running of a successful hotel business.

Making Hotel Marketing smarter

Hotels are renowned for the mass of data that their various systems compile on their guests, which can prove to be a valuable treasure trove of insights on the likes and dislikes of each traveler. However, the ability to leverage such information has long been limited by the capabilities of human personnel who simply cannot be expected to sort through countless data fields in order to craft a tailored message or service offering.

With regards to a hotel’s guest marketing efforts, AI offers a way forward that finally brings an end to ineffective ‘one size fits all’ promotional approaches, which have as much chance of turning potential guests off as they do of leading to a sale. Alternatively, hoteliers can now deploy data-driven AI platforms that can instantly build guest profiles and segment relevant data to infinite degrees. Taking mere seconds instead of hours, these advanced tools can automatically identify habits, preferences and hobby interests; ensuring that the most appropriate messaging is shared to maximize the likelihood of a sales conversion.

AI and machine learning are also proving to be crucial in hotelier goals to implement a hyperdynamic pricing strategy. While rigid pricing structures have fallen to the wayside as hotel markets become more competitive in attempting to demonstrate value, hyperdynamic pricing takes things a step further by incorporating external factors using AI to identify the most competitive rates. For example, new technologies can instantly reference circumstances such as weather, Google searches, local news and traffic to determine how each may influence demand. If a region has an upcoming event, such platforms can automatically raise prices in accordance with the expected surge of inbound travel. Machine learning is even capable of scanning hotel reviews and social media in order to identify how pricing should adapt based on current consumer sentiment, a capability that is sure to become more robust and expansive as the technology continues to progress.     

 

Ensuring Personalization at Every Step of the Guest Journey

The advantages that AI can provide in tailoring hotel operations to match individual guest needs extends far beyond the initial booking stage. Using the same accumulation of guest data, solutions now exist that can instantly provide hotel staff with the means to offer unique amenities that will appeal to specific preferences of each guest throughout the course of their stay. For physically active travelers, this can include identifying a fondness for biking and making them aware of available mountain biking tour guides that a property offers. A guest who has specific dietary needs can be provided with customized menu offerings that align with their F&B expectations. Those visiting for a honeymoon can be provided with details on current spa promotions or private dining options to make their stay truly memorable. These are just a few examples of how AI-based platforms can be used to instantly and effortlessly address the individual expectations of guests, but with the rise of big data, the possibilities really are endless.

 

AI and machine learning have also gained significant traction in recent years as a means to provide guests with more streamlined communications while lessening the burden on hotel staff. While not completely replacing the human element, properties are increasingly adopting intelligent chatbots that can sidestep a common guest frustration of being put on hold when trying to reach someone at the front desk. Instead and by being integrated with other hotel systems, chatbots can instantly provide guests with the relevant information they seek- whether for a simple request to find out onsite fitness center hours or for details on how they can extend their stay. Automating responses to such commonly asked questions not only removes an otherwise time-consuming obstacle standing in the way of a guest enjoying their experience, but also provides employees with a valuable opportunity to focus their attentions on improving other service areas.

 

Bringing the Advantages of Location into the Mix

Occurring simultaneously with the rise of AI have been the developing of solutions that leverage the power of geolocation to further enhance guest experiences and boost a hotel’s operational efficiency. Using advanced location-based technologies, today’s hoteliers are now able to alert guests to specific offerings based on their current whereabouts within a property. This can include pushing details to guest devices on drink specials when they are near a hotel’s bar, or informing them of watersport rentals when they approach a hotel’s beachfront area.

When used in conjunction with AI, the analytics gleaned from such interactions can prove tremendously valuable in further tailoring experiences and achieving even higher rates of satisfaction. For example, a guest who previously visited a hotel gift shop to purchase toiletries or electronics can be alerted to promotions for similar items when they return to the same location or when they visit another property’s gift shop belonging to the same hotel brand. Such abilities can go a long way in strengthening a guest’s loyalty to a hotel business while maximizing the opportunity to increase property revenues.  

 The advantages of location-based technologies coupled with AI and machine learning are certainly game-changing when it comes to heightening guest experiences, but the benefits also extend to streamlining daily hotel operations and amenity management processes. Using advanced hotel asset management solutions, hotel staff are notably able to monitor and receive updates on the real-time location of inventory, maintenance equipment and much more.

While able to drastically cut down on the time that employees spend needlessly searching for items, such platforms significantly also generate a wealth of information that when combined with AI, can identify opportunities to make operations even more efficient. Hoteliers can, for example, discover faster processes for re-stocking F&B products or can determine a more efficient way of utilizing employee labor that requires less dedicated resources. With AI and location-based technologies, hoteliers can ultimately achieve higher quality service and faster guest response times while at the same time reducing operational expense.

 

Stepping into the Furture of Hotel Management

With so many capabilities and functionalities that stand to push the limits on what the hotel industry can achieve, AI’s future in the hospitality space is set to become even brighter. As new technologies and integrations continue to emerge that raise standards in guest satisfaction, hotel efficiency and profitability, the adoption of AI-based platforms and compatible solutions will prove to be a highly competitive factor. Ultimately, it is simply a question of when with regards to AI becoming a mainstream technology across a hotel’s full scope of operations. Those currently working to integrate AI into existing operations are sure to gain an edge in meeting the ever-evolving expectations of guests both today and over the long-term future.

 

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By: Li Wang

Li Wang serves as Senior Vice President and Head of Hospitality for ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions. He is tasked with working together with the Hospitality team to further develop market-leading solutions and services to serve the needs of hotel operators. Prior to his current role, Li served as Managing Director of Biosite Systems LTD, a company he founded a decade ago to provide biometric workforce management solutions for the construction industry. Under his leadership, the company has quickly grown into a market leader in the UK and has since been acquired by ASSA ABLOY in 2020. Li holds an MBA and a PhD in computer Science from the University of Warwick.

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