Artificial Intelligence with SaaS Platform Changing the Game Plan Scenario in the Hospitality Industry

By : |January 28, 2019 0

By Anil Kumar Prasanna, CEO, AxisRooms

Hospitality business is like a big machine, and all direct and indirect people who are part of this are the machine’s cogs. There are many parts which have to work in tandem to deliver the best product (an amazing flying experience for an Airline) or an out of the world service (such as offering customized-scented toiletries to guests at a hotel). How is all this possible? Our (hospitality) industry set up isn’t good at going out of the way to do two things,

1) gaining deeper understand about millions of consumer preferences and

2) maximizing resources (people, software, vendors et al.) to deliver higher revenue year-on-year. This is where Artificial Intelligence might just turn the entire industry downside-up.

What is a hotel and what does it do?

Anil Kumar Prasanna, CEO, AxisRooms

Anil Kumar Prasanna, CEO, AxisRooms

                                 

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The concept of a hotel is very simple. A property runs by a decent set of people using quality, low cost (ideally) resources to deliver amazing services to its consumers. Preparing to, and delivering that amazing service is where technology can help hotels do something more, much more. Ideally generating lots of business using fewer resources effectively and guests line up to stay and pay. Seems very simple. But can this be achieved actually? The answer is, why not.

The concept of a smart hotel, but isn’t just a concept any more…

A robot checks guests in

At the high-end table, big hotel brand Hilton partnered with IBM to develop a concierge robot named Connie. Quite a few hotels have followed the path and have created similar functioning robots. These robo-workers are consumer facing (physically) and answer simple questions, provide information to customers and happily interact with visitors. There are a multitude of startups that are working on creating such advanced robots and sell it to millions of hotels who do not have the budget to create one from scratch.

Artificial Intelligence software forecasts demand and sets prices

Each season (there are many) brings with it a set of challenges to hotel owners. It becomes extremely challenging to predict demand. Enter a slew of smart software built on Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing. Such applications are helping even small B&B’s to understand their business, forecast, and price their rooms effectively.

Robot workers are delivering toiletries and other essentials

What if I say that there are smart bots employed to deliver housekeeping essentials, water bottles, toiletries etc to guests. For a small property, hiring resources to do simple chores turns out to be incredibly expensive. As responses and services are provided to guests more rapidly and efficiently, their satisfaction level will increase, the costs are reduced, and the revenues increased accordingly. In a couple of years, we are sure to see hotels in Asia implement robots in some form to serve guests.

Advertising and marketing, can AI help us?

Posting photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram might get us a lot of “Reach”. This frankly is of less use. There are startups who have built smart chatbots which can be deployed on various social media platforms. These bots chat with guests (hence the name Chatbots) and answer queries and they are the digital equivalent of front-facing customer service, and they also can be used to strengthen push messages or suggest interesting deals and offers. These bots never sleep, so they can interact with guests online all day and night.

Is this only for the elite set of hotels?

Large hotel brands such as Marriott and Hilton can surely partner with tech behemoths like IBM to develop customized Artificial Intelligence solutions, but the tides have changed over the past year. Many technology businesses have realized the true value is in data and selling smart solutions in volumes. This means there are smart solutions tailor-made for small to medium scale businesses in the hospitality industry today. But how do you know which solution is the right fit for your business?

How to choose the right solution, and how quickly can it deliver?

I would suggest you spend time to understand and make notes of your present day business challenges and shortcomings. This will give you a better start to explore a solution to solve the current crisis at hand. When you interact with businesses who sell you the solutions, always set the expectations right and shop for more than two providers.

Request for case studies of solutions delivered to similar hotels and negotiate for a better contract (not just the price). However, we got to understand that, even with smart technologies using A.I. it takes time for any solution to adapt to your service business and to deliver results. A.I. is the solution, but not a magic wand.

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