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  • Writer's picturesarahhabsburg

Insights into AI for hotels & restaurants


There doesn’t seem to be any escaping the tidal wave of AI products hitting the market, right? They have descended simultaneously to tantalise us with promises of getting things done faster and more efficiently. Their sales pitches lead us to believe that we will whizz through our to-do lists in no time at all, opening up the space to skip barefoot and carefree through spring meadows.


Don’t get me wrong. I am all for technological advances and making better use of my time. I do however feel that the number of offers that have suddenly appeared have (hopefully temporarily) added to my time load as a I diligently study which offers truly match my needs and objectives.


Recently I have been tempted by AI apps that behave like instructional designers to present me with a fully-fledged course outline for a new training programme. Another that “reads” YouTube videos, PDFs, and audio files to provide a summary and answer any questions you may have about the content. There is even one that generates potential interview questions for both the interviewer and the candidate based on a short role description.


According to the latest available data, there are around 67,200 artificial intelligence companies ¹ with the largest percentage being based in the United States. The AI market is expected to grow from $86.9 billion in 2022 to a staggering $407 billion by 2027. ²


Thousands of AI tools are being added to platforms daily, with the total number available being in the hundreds of thousands.




 


Let’s take a step back for a moment and make sure we understand the difference between the AI systems that are out there. Based on how they “learn” and apply this new knowledge, AI systems fall into three categories:


ANI – Artificial Narrow Intelligence. These are tools that are trained with specific commands to do a defined task. They cannot learn outside of their determined purpose. An example is a self-driving car or image recognition software.


AGI – Artificial General Intelligence. This also called Deep AI and is the one you will probably have interacted with. These tools are programmed to learn and think (almost!) like humans. Examples are generative AI models like ChatGPT.


ASI – Artificial Super Intelligence. This is the sort of science fiction AI we see in the movies where AI tools could - in theory - become more intelligent than human beings.

 


Across all industries uptake of AI seems to be a priority, with 97% of business owners believing that ChatGPT will help their business. ⁴

 

Big companies are already seeing massive improvements in operations after integrating AI tools into their systems. For example, Amazon reduced its click-to-ship time by 225% (down from 75 minutes to just 15 minutes) after tasking robots to automate the packing process, and Netflix saved US$ 1 billion in cancelled subscriptions by integrating machine learning.



Of course, the service industry has traditionally relied on on human interaction to generate customer satisfaction, so how will you, can you, and should you integrate AI tools into your hospitality business?


Let’s collect and share experiences so we can streamline our AI-tool decision making and get on with what our business is designed to do – provide outstanding service and generate memories!

 

 

Virtual Assistant & ChatBots

According to a 2020 statistic, 25% of business were already using chatbots to handle general enquiries and bookings. ⁵ That number must be much higher now.

 

Are you using a ChatBot and if so, which one?

 

 

Personalised Recommendations

AI-powered recommendation systems can analyse guest preferences based on past interactions and provide personalised recommendations for dining options, nearby attractions, or activities tailored to their interests.


Has your PMS provider already integrated this option into their offer? If so, how is it working and what sort of customer feedback have you received?

 


Predictive Analytics for Room Customisation

By leveraging AI-driven analytics, it is now possible to anticipate guest preferences regarding room amenities, such as preferred room temperature, lighting, or even room layout, allowing for a more customised and comfortable stay.


Have you incorporated this level of AI analytics already, and if so, how is it working?

 


Automated Task Management & Predictive Maintenance

For staff scheduling and assigning tasks based on workload and skillsets, AI-powered task management systems can help you streamline operations while predictive maintenance systems can monitor equipment and facilities in real-time, detecting potential issues before they escalate, thereby minimising downtime and ensuring smooth operations.


Regular staff task management systems have been around for a long while now. If you have upgraded yours or taken on an AI version recently, have your staff reacted positively?

 


Demand Forecasting

AI algorithms can analyse historical booking data, seasonal trends, and external factors to forecast demand accurately, enabling hotels to optimise pricing strategies, staffing levels, and inventory management.


This is an add-on that most PMS systems will probably already have launched during this AI tech explosion. Comment your feedback below if you are already using this.

 


Energy Management & Smart Room Technology

AI-powered energy management systems can monitor energy usage in real-time, identify inefficiencies, and automatically adjust settings for heating, cooling, and lighting to minimise waste and reduce utility costs.


This kind of tech will help you achieve your sustainability goals faster as the reduction in resource consumption leading to financial savings as well as a significant decrease in the carbon footprint of your business. Send me an email to sarah@sarahhabsburg.com for a recommendation on where to start with this kind of tech.

 


Content Creation

ChatGPT can be used to write full content drafts such as blog and social media posts, room and menu descriptions, video scripts, emails, and job descriptions. It can provide suggestions and outlines and is a good starting point to eliminate writer’s block. The more details you give in the prompt, the better the output will be.


I am pretty sure most of you will have trialled using ChatGPT by now. What are your thoughts? Did it just add another layer of complexity to your content creation, or has it revolutionised and sped up the way you create content for your business?

 

 


As with any kind of technology, there are challenges and considerations that need to be weighed up before hopping on board.

 

Data Privacy and Security

Hotels in particular manage a lot of personal customer information and therefore must ensure robust data privacy measures are in place to protect guest information and adhere to regulatory requirements, such as GDPR or CCPA.

 

Staff Training and Adoption

As with any new tech integrations, proper training and support are essential to ensure staff members are comfortable with AI technologies and can effectively utilise them to enhance their workflow and productivity. It is also good practice to ensure your staff know you are not looking to replace them by introducing new any tech solutions.

 

Don't forget, without people, hospitality does not exist.

While AI can automate various processes, it is absolutely crucial to strike a balance and maintain the human touch in guest interactions, ensuring personalised and authentic experiences.

 


My concluding recommendations are...


Before being tempted by the many, many shiny new AI tools that are flooding the market, take a look at the AI add-ons of the software that you currently use. Your PMS will for sure already have launched various AI capabilities. Your energy could be well spent learning more about what they offer and how it works, rather than searching for a new tool that has not been fully beta tested.


Be clever with ChatGPT. Rather than copying and pasting the content it gives you in the form of a full blog post for example, use it to give you ideas and then personalise what you write from there. I have started unsubscribing from any newsletters when I see the phrase “In the ever-evolving landscape of [insert name of any industry].”


It seems to be a favourite of ChatGPT as it pretty much sums up the speed with which our industries are having to change precisely because of generative AI, but it is already old school and a big red flag that what comes next will probably be 100% ChatGPT generated and not personalised at all. Consumers still need and seek that human emotion in the language they read, and that can only be done by intentionally choosing the words and phrases of your content so they continue to showcase your unique brand voice and offer.

 

 

I find it interesting that I have received an increasing number of enquiries in two areas over the last couple of months:


  1. Assistance on defining what exactly makes your brand different to competitors, and how to clearly convey that to your target audiences.

  2. Assistance with defining the operating and organisational structure of tourist accommodation businesses to increase efficiency and performance.

 


While I agree that AI will change the way we do things and is super useful for specific tasks, it is clear that it cannot get inside your business to see, feel, and perceive its nuance and uniqueness. It can be hard to know where to turn for real, personalised support, when the internet claims to consistently deliver it via our screens.


My tailored consultancy is in higher demand than ever before. If you have specific questions, or even if you are not sure what you need, schedule a free 30-minute call with a real person who has lived, breathed, and lost sleep over similar problems to the ones you are facing in your hospitality business right now.


Business owners continue to be driven by purpose and passion and consumer choices continue to be led by emotional connection. Don’t forget, the reason you set up your business or took a job in hospitality was to provide outstanding service, to share the beauty of your destination and the quality of your services, to make people smile, to create wow moments, ultimately to generate the kind of memories that will stay with us forever. Working out exactly how to keep on doing that in our fast-paced world is better done together!


Schedule your free call here and don’t forget to share your AI experiences in the comments section at the very bottom of this page.





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