The Digital Transformation
Technology giants are currently investing heavily in artificial intelligence and robotics. In the travel industry this new Digital Transformation has the potential to undo established value chains and create a completely new order.
Are these topics a challenge or an opportunity and which of these trends will enhance the guest experience?
Digital Transformation towards Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
With the latest developments regarding big data and artificial intelligence, we are getting closer to creating devices with more humanlike features. The first hotels with a humanlike robot for the check-in desk has already been realized. The robots can recognize human behavior, emotions and even predict and interact accordingly. Are we ready for these implementations of technology? And how does this impact the guests experience?
We believe that the hotelier can never be fully replaced by technology, only within a certain niche of the branch. However, it could benefit the guest experience if we can interact with a robot to ask basic hotel questions or even for directions. Perhaps play games and entertain your kids while you check-in? But still the biggest influencer for any guests experience is you as a hospitality expert.
Digital Transformation driven on Big Data
We tend to use past knowledge to plan next actions. But we are coming to a point where we monitor human behavior to predict the next future action.
Get to know your guests by using AI and Social information
It’s simple to picture a robot when you talk about Artificial Intelligence but this is just one way to use it. Something that is more within reach and already used in many smart devices is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is about creating smart mobile interfaces that can recognize and predict human behavior and even their needs. It’s all based on data. Big data that we can receive via social media, tracking apps on mobile devices and even user activity on the internet.
How does this translate to a hotel? Imagine that you know your guests before they arrive. Information about their preferred activities, food and music so that you can proactively enhance their visit with an up-sell or provide information pre-stay and post-stay or perhaps even on check-in.
Digital Transformation translated to a Mobile Solution
Let’s translate all these Digital topics towards a mobile solution that combines both AI and Big Data. And this is more commonly usable by many hotels worldwide and in reaching out to optimize the guests experience/journey.
Hospitality Key Trends: Digital transformation translated to a mobile solution
Imagine a mobile app where you can get in touch with your guests from pre-stay through to after-stay. An application where the guest can find all their documents and details for their stay. An app that allows you as a hotel to connect your business with other attractions throughout your city. To offer a personalized city guide for your guest based on their social media feeds so they can experience their favorite activities and choice of food. You can even add elements of Gamification to the city guide. Let the guest earn points based on their check-ins at the attractions and allow them to spend those credits in your hotel restaurant. Or services like in-house hotel functionalities that shows the room service menu and minibar products that they can immediately order. And even a simple voice activated help service to answer the most basic user questions on-demand. All this in an app that not only enhances the guest experience but also changes the guest journey. Stay connected throughout the entire stay with your guests and save your precious time on simple-to-answer questions or tasks so you can focus on other hospitality expert activities.
What would be the next step? Let the app connect to your in-house devices. Determine the sleep pattern of your guests and, based on his or her preferred choice of drink in the morning, a filled cup of coffee awaits beneath the coffee machine the moment your guest wakes up. I personally would prefer that over a humanlike robot knocking on my door and offering the same service.
This is just a glimpse of the possibilities that we saw during our stay at the ITB Berlin 2017. Big data allows us to personalize the guest journey and smart and simple, yet creative, technical solutions will make it a reality, not just an gimmick.