BREAKING NEWS: AI can now track human emotions!
Is this the robot uprising we should be worried about? Not at all! In fact, this is great news for hoteliers. At the core of sentiment mapping is AI tracking guest’s emotions throughout their stay by analyzing their message exchanges to the hotel.
Lying in the hands of guests’s sentiments is full control over reviews, satisfaction and ancillary revenue. The hotel industry is constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of its guests. In recent years, there has been a shift towards using sentiment mapping as a way to gauge guest satisfaction. Sentiment mapping is the use of natural language processing, text analysis, computational linguistics, and biometrics to identify and store information on the different states of guest sentiments. This data can be used to improve the guest experience by identifying areas of opportunity and making changes accordingly.
First of all, what is it?
What this AI powered solution does is to very literally, as the name suggests, map out the sentiment of an entire guest base, or to target specific groups of people (for example those who have recently stayed at a specified hotel). To do this, hotels need to collect guest feedback and use it to create a “sentiment map.”
Every text is analyzed to give it a neutral, bad or good rating. For example:
- “We stayed at this hotel for five days” is neutral 😑
- “I liked staying here” is positive 🙂
- “I disliked the hotel” is negative 😡
What does sentiment mapping do for you
A deeper measure of guest satisfaction
Providing the best possible experience for their guests is of paramount importance to every hotel leader. Thus hotels need to be aware of the guest sentiment around their hotel. What might not be obvious to the eye can be revealed in these reports. Sentiment analysis moves past the surface level understanding of 1 star or 5 stars and takes a further look into satisfaction at different touchpoints.
The problem with reviews is that they provide an overall idea: An average one mostly. While averages work very well for certain industries, hotels are more human based and as a result, more insight driven. And so averages are dangerous.
For example, if 3 guests reported happy, neutral and sad as their experience on the satisfactory behavior of the staff, all hotel leaders would see it as a neutral average experience. That is, the issue of the one bad experience or the performance of the good experience is not even counted. Like they say, the devil is in the details (Or in this case, the answer to the hotel’s growth is in the details) As executives look at these experiences with a closer eye, they will be able to glean insights and learn to better the hotel experience.
Proactively identify potential problems
The common consensus on the idea of sentiment mapping, especially among hotel leaders, is the idea that they don’t need to worry about sentiment mapping because they already have a good reputation. However, even the most well-regarded hotels can have unhappy guests, and it’s important to be aware of what those guests are saying. Additionally, sentiment mapping can help identify potential problems before they become a full-blown crisis.
This becomes especially important when you look at the cost it is taking on the hotel to get new guests. Harvard Business Review found that it can cost businesses between 5 to 25 times more to acquire a new hotel customer than retain a current one. But, a Phocuswright study found that 84% of TripAdvisor users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review “improves my impression of the hotel.” So when you get a negative review, responding appropriately would immediately assuage any doubts the guest has about the competency of the hotel.
In fact, there’s a cognitive bias called the peak end rule that comes into effect here. The peak end rule states that intense positive or negative moments (the “peaks”) and the final moments of an experience (the “end”) are heavily weighted in our mental calculus. That is, they form the majority of our thoughts about an experience. Thus it becomes important to lower the negative peaks and end on a good note.
Sentiment mapping can help identify guests with an overall negative experience and give the hotel a chance to fix it before they check out in the form of discounts, promotions or intervention by the staff. Once these problems reach a boiling point, it would be a lot harder to alleviate the negative experience. That’s the key to improving and keeping up a great hotel.
Identify opportunities for upselling
By understanding what guests are looking for, hotels can offer additional services that will appeal to them. Boosting ancillary revenue and bringing in better reviews, this can help identify key moments and nip any negative affect guests might have in the bud.
The faster an issue is resolved with a negative remark, the more likely the guest is to have an improved impression of the hotel.
While upselling might already be a part of a smart hotel, sentiment mapping would allow hoteliers to find the right audience for each service, mitigate negative affect (through promotions, offers etc), and boost conversions by sending the right message at the right time.
To illustrate this idea, take the example of a guest who was disappointed by a dirty room when they arrived. Sensing the negative words in the message, the AI can be programmed to automatically trigger a custom response redirecting the guests to enjoy the special Asian themed buffet the hotel is having for the week with a celebrity chef while their room is put back in order. Not only does it improve the chances of the guest trying out the buffet meal, it also reduces the negative feeling the guest has towards the hotel. This could also be done with promotional deals to allow these messages to maximize the impact of these upselling messages.
Identify trends in guest behavior
Tracking the right data points and analyzing the results on a regular basis can help identify insights which are valuable in predicting, optimizing and even introducing new services to the hotel.
At the core of a human service industry like hotels, is the insight behind every problem, solution and great experience can be used to uplift guest satisfaction. Not only does it improve all aspects of the hotel business, it also makes it easier to analyze these sentiments with a curated report.
Digging deeper into sentiment analysis gives hotels the human insight behind guest problems and experiences which are great learnings for the hotel as a whole. This information can help hotels make the right marketing campaigns and create the right set of offers to reach the target audience.
The hotel industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world. Sentiment mapping is a valuable tool that hoteliers can use to improve their business. By understanding how guests feel about their stay, hotels can make necessary changes to improve the guest experience. Additionally, sentiment mapping can also help hotels identify new sales opportunities and understand trends in guest behavior.
AI is not simply about automating repetitive tasks. It’s about adding features which otherwise would not be possible due to the limits of being human. AI has allowed hospitality to expand its reach and drastically improve guest experiences, now all that’s left is for hotels to catch on. Will yours be one of them?
The hotel industry is increasingly employing conversational AI and robotic automation technologies, but there’s still a huge ground to cover. It has huge potential but is underpenetrated.
Engage-AI is RateGain’s Virtual Assistant Conversational AI platform which helps optimize your hotel’s operations, create upsell opportunities and generate more revenue per guest, ultimately enhancing guest experience and increasing satisfaction scores for the hotel.