Are the current trends of Hotel Automation in line with the Travel Industry ?

The hospitality industry is excited with disruptive innovations of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and related automation. A lot is being written about big data to discover maximum information about guests to tailor the experience according to specific individual needs.

By utilizing the full potential of AI software, hotel staff can capture a range of information about their guests and use that knowledge to offer insightful experiences to them at all touch points like travel, stay, and also up-selling other products and services like F&B, Spa and wellness, etc.

From the front desk where AI-powered concierge service stands, to the hotel rooms where voice-activated assistants enhance customer experience, Artificial Intelligence is seen successfully driving hotel industry tomorrow. The technology enables personalized concierge services and offers real-time recommendations and easy service requests management.

A business traveler has a hectic life, driving to the airport, rushing to catch flights, long days in the office, conferences, meetings, in short too much human interaction and a tired day end. So, when a business traveler reaches his/her hotel, what do they expect.

1.      A smooth and quick check-in

2.      A clean and comfortable room

3.      Wi-Fi

4.      Variety of food options

5.      Quick and trouble free service

A corporate traveler would love an auto check-in, keyless room entry, streaming video service with his choices pre-selected. Meal order through a menu tablet with no human intervention. Such a traveler tends to stay in the same Hotel/Hotel Chain and enough customer data is generated which can be used to offer intuitive suggestions. The current hospitality trends are well suited for such a traveler. But again as the current rising trends indicate, we have the Bleisure traveler who mixes Business with Leisure…

Let’s take the view of a tourist. The experiential tourist gets of his flight and takes the Hotel pickup vehicle. Once in the car the tourist chats up the driver about the weather, the route, the sights en-route the Hotel, even his family..!. While checking into the Hotel the tourist would talk about what he experienced on his way to the Hotel, where he plans to go, where he plans to eat, will ask for advice etc. Some who are more inquisitive will talk about the lifestyle of people in that destination, what they eat, about their culture, traditions etc. All this information may be available on Google or other travel info sites but talking and interacting with local people is as much a part of the travel experience as visiting sights and eating local food.

Moreover a vacationer does not repeat his/her destinations and hotels, in fact 80% such customers are first time customers for these Hotels/Resorts. Therefore specific hospitality touch points do not have much customer data for AI to be very useful.

As new technologies will automate process-driven tasks, leisure travel continues to be an industry dominated by people and relationships, and the ability to create technologies that connects the traveler to its eco-system seamlessly should be an excellent opportunity to further personalize the travel experience.”

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are great technological disrupters which are changing the way we do business. To expect technology to take over social interactions and a natural experience will happen only when we all become Socio- phobic. Hospitality industry must look at the leisure traveler with a different perspective vis a vis a business traveler. We need to create technologies which focus not on removing social interaction rather which help in solving problems.

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