Artificial Intelligence in the Hospitality Industry – Planning a trip is always fascinating but making it perfect is always cumbersome. Nowadays, travelers do not weigh money against memories, they do not mind paying more for creating unforgettable memories. Even though technology has made it simpler to find details about destinations, read reviews, check property images, the overload of information has made decision making more complex. On top of it, being stuck between the corporate and business lifestyle, maintaining work life balance etc, the travelers don’t get exclusive time to research, plan and book their travel. Therefore, they need information at their own time, which could be while they are multitasking. And the only way to make that happen is through their mobiles.
This is where Conversational-AI or chatbots have come into play, these are slowly but steadily transforming travel and hospitality industry. When you hear the word chatbots – Siri and Alexa probably comes to mind, but there is a huge world beyond these which are shaping the future of travel.
AI-powered chatbots offer the travel industry a unique opportunity to transform their operations and make it more guest friendly. With conversational chatbots, the travel industry can cater to the needs and demands of digitally savvy travelers and help them stay ahead of the competition. Chatbots have the potential to streamline the guest experience and deliver personalized solutions.
Conversational AI has the potential to act as an advantage for Artificial Intelligence in the Hospitality Industry as listed below.
1. Instant Replies and Acknowledgement
People have little to no patience for getting a response on basic questions like ‘Where is breakfast?’, ‘What is Wi-Fi Password?’ to even some complex queries where they would like to book an experience. AI chatbots help address most of these questions in real-time and even reduces the need of guest to reach out to a phone number, operator etc. Some studies state that 75%+ of questions are repetitive and can be clubbed into what we call as FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). AI can easily answer the same reducing the dependency on your front desk, wait time for guest and in effect increase Guest Satisfaction scores.
2. Higher Engagement
Traditionally, big chains have been promoting their own websites and apps to increase engagement. Studies show that instant messaging is far more powerful tool than sending communication on website or on hotel applications. The Big Chains have managed to drive loyalty via apps, but regional chains, small hotels and standalone luxury properties are not that popular across the globe for people to download their apps. Instant messaging with proactive and reactive reach does help bridge this gap. 98% of instant messages are replied to within 20 minutes.
A message from WhatsApp-branded API with hotel name and logo has 5 times more impact than an email being sent with same details. Adding more value to this is its ability to be available 24*7 because of AI, so now the guests can communicate and engage as per their convenience.
3. Higher Revenue
Chatbots accelerate your business starting from brand awareness, engagement, bringing the WOW experience and leading the guest to spend more. The ease of buying through your phone at one place, rather than coordinating at various places and paying up separately makes chatbots case much stronger. AI-powered chatbots go a step ahead in personalizing the customer experience and enhancing the guest’s stay with their high-grade assistance. They present the right offer at the right time to the right guest, making the upselling probability much higher.
4. Increase Efficiency, Reduce Cost
The travel and hospitality industry gets a repeated set of questions from various guests. Having a human customer-care representative responding to the queries repeatedly is inefficient. Traditionally, hotels increase their morning staffing basis their previous night occupancy to manage guest services, where majority land up answering FAQ.
In the age of chatbots, these routine queries can get easily resolved by the instant messaging without any human intervention, which in turn enables customer support staff to focus on other complex tasks boosting productivity and efficiency of the organization. The chatbots are cost effective when compared to labour cost especially in hotels, where customer facing clients are expected to be highly skilled and does come at a premium.
The hotel industry is increasingly employing conversational AI and robotic automation technologies, but there’s still a huge ground to cover. It has a 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.