Ai Can Help Hotels Serve Up Better Experiences

39 Days(s) Ago    👁 77
ai can help hotels serve up better experiences

In an era of personalisation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help the hospitality industry serve up better experiences for customers. And rather than be feared, it should be embraced.

AI has become a buzzword across industries over the past year with the advent of generative AI, but it has been in use for over a decade. During a panel discussion at World Travel Market Africa 2024 last week, industry experts discussed how the hospitality sector should be viewing the technology.

Louise Hibbert, Director of IT for the SHR Group said people who use streaming services like Netflix and Spotify daily, are already being exposed to AI without even realising it.

Its subliminal, not intrusive and theyre serving up content I like, based on who I am, where I am from. So AI is allowing us to move away from bog standard, general content into the personalisation-era she said.

And while there is concern about AI replacing people, the panel was clear that human beings are essential in hospitality.

Hospitality is always going to be about humans said Amy Branford, UK sales manager for Guest Revu.

Its about using it in the right way and understanding the ways that you can use it to enhance an experience, she said.

This includes using it to sell experiences to guests, and to analyse data for trends or insights to be used in decision making.

AI will improve the quality of roles. If youre not doing repetitive, mundane tasks, youll enjoy your job more. AI doesnt take away jobs, it automates tasks and a job is more than just one task, Hibbert said.

She added In the hotel industry, there are a lot of repetitive, mundane tasks which, if automated, could free up people to do other tasks.

AI wont take jobs, but improve workload

Jose Soares, Director of IT at The Capital said there was a tendency, when discussing tech, for businesses to only bring big problems to the table. But in hotels, the front desk, the concierge, their problems are never tabled.

He said introducing a generative AI tool like ChatGPT could help solve problems people throughout the business are experiencing. So at the executive level, youve got the big moves, with little ripples of change happening at an individual level.

This way people see that AI is not actually going to take my job, its going to improve my workload, he said.

But ignoring the impact of AI on the world of work is not an option either and upskilling people to work with AI or to pursue other opportunities is important.

In Singapore, Soares said, people who are 40+ years old are being re-educated to teach them to use technologies like AI.

We must not be on a drive to make ourselves obsolete, he said.

If people want to sit back and be lazy, it is going to overtake their job, Branford said.

While the shift to incorporate AI into a business could be seen as a big investment, or change, the panel advised against going all-in at once.

Soares said starting by identifying problems in the business and then asking Do I have to use AI to solve them? is an important first step.

Make it small, but make it big in calculated steps, he said.

Because AI essentially works by using algorithms to analyse data, issues of data quality and data privacy are also key.

Our ethical framework has to be transparency. We have to tell people what (data) were collecting, why and what it will be used for, Hibbert said.

Soares said in the absence of rules, policies and legislation, ethics were an important conversation.

We have an ethical responsibility to use this thing right. We messed it up with social media, he said.

Sign up to our mailing list and get daily news headlines and weekly features directly to your inbox free.