If you had mentioned Artificial Intelligence in relation to the hotel industry a few years ago, robots behind the front desk would likely come to mind. While 2020 saw the novelty of robot butlers, AI today is quite different—and astounding! Let’s define what AI is for hotels and explore how hotels can leverage it for greater operational efficiency, revenue, and guest satisfaction.
What is AI for Hotels?
When we asked ChatGPT—a popular AI writing tool—for a definition of AI, it told us, “AI, or Artificial Intelligence, refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and act like humans. AI systems can analyze data, learn from that data, and make decisions based on that learning. They can also be trained to recognize patterns and respond to new situations.”
In other words, AI is a program that uses machine learning to analyze data and apply logic to generate a desired outcome. From self-driving cars to content writing, AI has already entered almost every aspect of our lives, and the hotel industry is no different. While this revolutionary technology is still in its infancy in terms of growth, many hotels are already using AI for guest communications, predictive analytics, dynamic pricing, personalization, automated check-ins, and marketing.
What it is: We’ve talked about chatbots for a few years now, and we still get excited about how hotels are using them as virtual concierges to answer guests’ questions 24/7. A chatbot is a computer program that provides information in a conversational format via messaging apps. It’s designed to use AI to respond to human input (questions) with natural language processing (NLP). Rule-based chatbots use predefined rules and if/then logic to respond, but more sophisticated chatbots use machine learning algorithms to become increasingly refined and specific the more they are utilized.
Not only do chatbots provide quick answers for your guests, but they also streamline front desk duties by processing orders, booking rooms, upselling services and amenities, assisting guest service requests, and providing personalized recommendations. The Novotel Amsterdam City’s chatbots are currently assisting guests with room bookings, restaurant reservations, and FAQs, while Marriott International’s chatbots can also take room service orders.
Benefits: Aside from saving your front desk agents heaps of time, chatbots can offer your guests multilingual support too! With cross-platform applications, you can provide timely, relevant, and personalized information to your guests wherever they are, whenever they need it. This level of hospitality builds guest satisfaction and loyalty, even if it is not human.
Recommendations: Integrate your property management system with a guest messaging platform to automate routine guest communications, including chat. WebRezPro PMS works with leading hotel guest messaging solutions, including Canary, Akia, Revinate Ivy, and HiJiffy.
What it is: The demand for bespoke travel experiences is growing, and AI is the road that can take us there. AI can deliver personalized offers and recommendations to guests by collecting and analyzing guest data. Modern guest engagement platforms include personalization software driven by AI that analyzes guest behavior and preferences online and from previous stays to tailor website content and offers, make personalized recommendations during chatbot interactions, and upsell experiences or amenities through email marketing, guest apps, and during booking and check-in.
Smart room technology, including voice-activated controls for lighting, temperature, music, TV, and room service requests, allows guests to instantly personalize their in-room experience. Such technology can be integrated with the PMS to pre-condition rooms based on reservation data.
Benefits: AI for personalization enhances guest satisfaction by delivering relevant information and offers, streamlining the guest experience, and making them feel like VIPs. It’s a surefire way to increase bookings and revenue and win loyal guests.
Recommendations: Personalization technology integrates with your PMS to power individualized experiences based on guest profiles and reservation data. In addition to the guest messaging platforms mentioned above, WebRezPro offers integrations with guest engagement and CRM solutions such as Cendyn, Duve, and Salesforce, as well as smart room technology providers like Operto and Intelity.
What it is: Collecting reports is all well and good, but what can you do with all that data? That’s where predictive analytics comes in. By leveraging AI’s statistical algorithms and machine learning, hotels can efficiently analyze their data to gain insights and actionable recommendations for room pricing, inventory management, staffing levels, and even maintenance forecasts.
- Revenue Management: AI-powered revenue management software can analyze hotel booking patterns, market data, and customer behavior 24/7 to predict future demand, helping hotels make informed pricing and inventory decisions that maximize revenue.
- Optimizing Staffing Levels: By analyzing peak demand periods, AI can advise on optimal staffing and scheduling.
- Predictive Maintenance: Based on previous data, AI can use predictive analytics to forecast when equipment or systems may fail, from elevators to HVAC systems. Such software helps hotels schedule maintenance, reduce equipment failures, and minimize downtime.
Benefits: We think the benefits of predictive analytics are pretty obvious, don’t you? Let’s spell it out for those in the back: improved revenue, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction.
Recommendations: Leading automated revenue management solutions for independent hotels include IDeaS and Duetto. Meanwhile, platforms like Breezeway and Operto Teams have predictive maintenance and operations covered.
Content Creation and Customer Service
What it is: Chatbots, personalization technology, and predictive analytics are AI-powered tools that hotels can use for marketing and sales. But AI can also help create content and streamline promotional initiatives, which is especially helpful when you’re short on time.
Content creation: AI can assist with content creation through natural language processing tools, like ChatGPT. With the right prompts, AI tools can write Facebook and Google ads, blog posts, and email campaigns for you. However, it’s important to note that you should always put your own spin on the generated content and not copy it word for word. While AI can use existing content to create new pieces, it doesn’t have the ability to make original connections or fully capture your brand voice. To resonate with your audience and appeal to search engines, content needs to be authentic and engaging, not just a rehash of what’s already out there.
Despite this, AI can be incredibly useful when you’re short on time or struggling with ideas. Use it to spark inspiration and provide a general outline, but be sure to add your own original thoughts and flair. It’s also important to carefully edit all generated content to ensure it aligns with your brand voice, is accurate, and is relevant to your audience.
Here’s an example of an ad ChatGPT recommended based on our prompt for an oceanside hotel:
Image: A high-quality image of a room in the hotel with a view of the ocean in the background. The room is tastefully decorated with modern furnishings and a comfortable king-size bed.
Ad Copy: “Escape to our luxurious beachfront hotel and experience the ultimate relaxation. With breathtaking ocean views, world-class amenities, and exceptional service, your stay with us will be unforgettable. Book now and save 20% on your first stay!”
CTA: “Book Now”
Targeting: Users aged 25-45 who have recently searched for beach vacations or have shown an interest in luxury travel.
Not bad, right? At the same time, it’s not particularly original either. Still, it provides a great starting point for your ad.
Customer Service: AI writing tools can also be helpful for customer service tasks, such as creating email templates for routine guest communications (like pre-arrival and post-stay emails) and even responding to specific email queries and online reviews. If you’re not sure what to say or how to say it, AI can assist you in crafting an appropriate response. Keep in mind that the response may not be perfect (and most likely won’t be), but it can provide you with a solid starting point and framework for your reply. For instance, here’s an example we created using AI to respond to a real review on TripAdvisor:
This hotel tried to be bougie, but it’s not. The building is very old, and it shows. The worst part of the stay was the noise – from the water/pipes running in adjacent rooms to even simple things such as doors closing and people talking in the hallway – the rooms have extremely poor insulation. Made for a poor night’s sleep. Would definitely choose another hotel next time!
Dear valued guest,
We would like to express our sincere apologies for the disappointing experience you had during your recent stay at our hotel. We regret to hear that the noise levels in your room caused you discomfort and a poor night’s sleep. We understand how important a good night’s rest is, and we are sorry that we failed to provide you with a comfortable and peaceful stay.
We take all feedback seriously and are actively working to address the issues you mentioned. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention as it allows us to make improvements and better serve our guests.
Regarding the age of our building, we understand that it may not be to everyone’s liking, but we do take pride in preserving its historic charm while ensuring it meets modern standards. That being said, we understand that noise insulation is a crucial aspect of a comfortable stay, and we will take steps to address this issue.
We hope you can give us another chance to provide you with a more enjoyable experience in the future. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly if you have any further concerns or if there is anything we can do to make things right.
Thank you for choosing our hotel, and we hope to welcome you back soon.
Benefits: While AI may not be perfect for creating quality content for ads, emails, websites, and customer service, it can be a useful tool for generating ideas and providing a framework, especially when you’re short on time. However, it’s important to emphasize that incorporating your own original ideas and brand voice is essential, and fact-checking all generated content is crucial.
Recommendations: ChatGPT is a highly advanced chatbot that offers a free version, making it a great starting point. For those looking to improve their writing skills and accuracy, Grammarly provides a free tool that uses AI to proofread emails and Word documents in real time, and can also check for plagiarism if you’re using ChatGPT to formulate a blog post. For social media scheduling, Hootsuite now includes an internal tool called OwlyWriter that can assist with crafting posts. And Jasper is a notable ad-writing tool that includes a voice analyzer to match created content with your existing content.
Artificial can mean fake, synthetic, and disingenuous, but when it comes to the hotel industry, Artificial Intelligence is anything but that. Whether learning about our guests to deliver more valuable information and offers or streamlining services for smoother transactions, AI is enhancing guest satisfaction across the industry—and driving revenue growth, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency in the process! By automating routine tasks, hotel staff can focus on providing personalized service and building stronger connections with guests. What’s more real than that?