It was once the stuff of sci-fi but Artificial Intelligence (AI) is about to transform the world of work forever. A recent report by the Office For National Statistics found that 1.5 million jobs in England are at high risk that some of their tasks and duties will become automated in the near future.
Hospitality is likely to be at the forefront of that change. Aside from in a few high profile hotels in tech-hungry Japanese cities, humanoid robots are unlikely to be checking in guests anytime soon, nor are they likely to impact negatively on levels of hospitality recruitment. Instead, AI is already starting to streamline how hotels operate, freeing staff from time-consuming administrative duties and allowing them to spend more time catering for the needs of customers.
Here are four ways AI is already being used within the hospitality sector.
Messaging and chatbots
Chatbots can answer customer questions online without the need for any human input. Provide the chatbot with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by people considering making a booking and you can respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is particularly useful when dealing with international clients who live in different time zones. Chatbots are now so sophisticated that it can be difficult to tell if you’re engaging with a bot or another human being.
Using the latest virtual reality software, customers can browse the interior of a hotel without leaving the comfort of their own home. Take a look in the rooms, check out the bathroom, see what’s available to order in the restaurant. Rather than customers reading through descriptions or looking at photos, they can experience the hotel for themselves. With the increasing popularity of VR headsets, some analysts are predicting it’s the next big technology game-changer.
Robots are not likely to be wielding a screwdriver or picking up a paintbrush, but AI will be able to use occupancy data and guest feedback to assess which upgrades, repairs and improvements should be tackled first. It could help to strategically channel resources and even preempt problems before they arise.
AI’s ability to wade through social media posts and online reviews quickly, gathering information even from lesser-known sources, could prove a valuable insight into what people are saying about your business. The positive feedback can be amplified, the negative quickly responded to.
Ultimately, we are on the cusp of an AI revolution and no sector of the economy is likely to be left untouched. The next few decades are likely to reward those businesses who choose to embrace rather than resist the coming transformation.