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Challenges of AI in hospitality
Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intellingence (AI) - We all know that computers and smartphones have internet, but now there everyday objects like refrigerators, televisions, and cars are connected to the internet as well. This is also known as the Internet of Things, where physical objects and devices are connected to the internet. When it comes to hospitality, IoT can upgrade customer service and operations tremendously, as explained in this article. Want to know when a guest has placed their in-room dining tray out in the hall or conserve energy in guest rooms when they leave the room each time? IoT is here to solve all of these issues by simply connecting the physical assets of dining trays and room sensors to the internet. IoT can even streamline check-in processes and guest registrations for events through facial recognition software - take Shiji’s partnership with Alibaba’s facial recognition tool Fliggy for example, as mentioned in our article here. By connecting the hardware with Shiji’s software, guest check-in can become more efficient and save operation costs and time. However, IoT does have it’s fallbacks if not implement correctly, as seen here. Be sure to have a strong foundation of connectivity in your hotel, the technological support for new technology, and a strong understanding of your customer’s needs before implementing IoT into your hotel.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence come hand in hand, as the study of ML helps lead to the application of AI. In hospitality, the more tech savvy consumers become and the more online tools that become available to both guests and hotels, the necessity for ML and AI grows exponentially. For instance, Expedia Partner Solutions has been implementing ML to understand the customers’ needs and improve the hotel booking process, as well as focusing on the infrastructure and talent within the company. While ML can increase efficiency in a business’s operations, the human element is still essential to successfully implementing it. New technology is an ideal way to improve productivity and better manage tasks, however without well-trained employees who understand the new solutions, the technology cannot reach its full capabilities, as shown here. Before jumping right into ML and AI tools, you must understand your guests and their needs. As mentioned here and here, not all guests are ready for AI-powered robot concierges. It’s crucial to find the right balance between technology-based concierge tools and actual human interactions between hotel guests and staff. Usually, hotel guests want the efficiency and accuracy of AI-tools when it comes to enhancing their stay, but still wish for the personalized touch given by human interaction. Depending on your hotel type and key market segments, there are different levels of AI functions to be implemented to keep customer satisfaction high.
While IoT, ML, and AI are already implemented across many industries, there is still a lot to look forward to as the tools develop even further. According to this article, the first AI-powered travel guide has been created to enhance the travel experience. The future is now when it comes to these technologies and there is more to look forward to in the upcoming years. Read here to see what the predicted technology trends are in hospitality for 2019 for more.