7 Key Advantages of AI in Hotels

Bryan Michalis
Bryan Michalis
Updated
June 14, 2024
/
Published
February 29, 2024
7 Key Advantages of AI in Hotels

There has never been a more opportune moment for hotels to embrace the power of artificial intelligence (AI). After all, AI brings a host of benefits to an industry where competing priorities constantly challenge professionals. Just consider this: a staggering 82% of hotels are grappling with staffing shortages and soaring turnover rates (in fact, only 62% of vacancies were filled in December). Yet, the demand for a personalized, high-touch experience remains stronger than ever.

With recent advancements in AI, this cutting-edge technology is perfectly tailored to cater to your unique business needs. So, without further ado, let's delve into the practical ways you can reap the rewards of AI in your hotel right now.

AI Is Already Making Waves in the Hospitality Sector

At a high level, AI helps guests make bookings and hotels better their business. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that, when used in the hospitality industry, artificial intelligence has a hand in many more aspects of the guest experience and business operations than you’d ever imagine.

Guests Make Decisions Powered by AI

Modern AI technologies put the power in the hands of your guests, allowing them to easily research and book according to their preferences. The result is a personalized, efficient and cost-effective booking experience that is here to stay.

Some common traveler-facing tools that integrate AI into the booking process are:

     
  • Trip planners: Guests can enlist apps and tools to offer sightseeing suggestions, flight price predictions and more. Online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and Booking.com have announced plans to integrate AI planning tools into their apps, promising a more personalized and user-friendly booking process.
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  • Voice assistants: Following Amazon Echo’s integration with Kayak, guests can instantly access flight and hotel inventory information with a simple prompt. For example, they can ask Alexa to ask Kayak, “Where can I go in April for $500?” Or they can say, “Alexa, ask Kayak to search hotels in New York with rooms available from April 3rd to April 5th.”
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  • Machine learning algorithms: Booking.com also leverages AI to give guests tailored hotel suggestions based on specific requirements, individual user behavior and booking history.
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  • Hotel chatbots: Marriott integrates Marriott Rewards into their app, utilizing AI to engage with loyalty members, answer common queries, and facilitate seamless bookings.

AI Travel Itinerary

How Hotels Actively Use the Advantages of AI

Ideally, hotels leverage the advantages of AI before, during and after guest stays. After all, great guest experiences are personalized at every touchpoint.

Below, we’ll discuss AI advantages that can help hotel operators improve customer services and maximize operational efficiency.

7 Advantages of AI in the Hospitality Industry

Infographic: Advantages of AI in Hospitality

1. Streamlining Communication Without Losing the Human Touch

Certain hotel processes are well-suited for automation, such as mobile check-ins and scheduling wake-up calls. Others necessitate a human touch.

AI-driven guest messaging is perfectly suited to customer communications and mobile concierges, and you can scale it as needed without compromising the human element.

Modern AI assistants, like the solution adopted by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, answer repetitive guest questions almost instantly via text message, freeing up staff to deliver more timely, personalized attention as needed. These tools immediately engage a staff member if the request requires human attention.

2. Allocate Resources More Effectively

Automation in hotels can optimize resource allocation, enhancing customer satisfaction. By leveraging data-driven insights, AI systems predict peak periods, adjusting staffing levels accordingly. This strategy not only saves time and money but also ensures that hotel staff deliver exceptional service during busy times, catering to individual preferences.

For instance, if a hotel faces high demand for housekeeping services at specific times, AI enables scheduling extra staff to swiftly clean rooms, enhancing guest satisfaction and streamlining operations.

3. Boosting Staff Productivity

A properly staffed hotel is better equipped to deliver quality customer service consistently. However, with the ongoing labor shortages in the hospitality sector, hotels often struggle to assemble well-rounded teams. Leveraging AI tools can identify the ideal staffing levels, empowering you to maximize your resources effectively. Here are a few examples:

Workforce management tools

Schedule your team according to demand and staff availability. For example, AI platforms can predict when you need to place more staff on hand during busier nights so you can deliver greater service without exhausting your team.

AI Guest Messaging tools

Managing responses for multiple guests with a short-staffed team can be challenging. Your front desk staff is balancing various responsibilities like check-ins, check-outs, and other guest requests. AI Guest Messaging tools can alleviate this burden by handling guest inquiries and prioritizing urgent messages.

Interested in learning more about how AI can help you supercharge your hotel operations? See why brands like Wyndham are rolling out Canary AI across thousands of hotels. Schedule a demo today.

4. Enriching the Guest Experience with Personalization and Prioritization

Customer experiences are shaped on multiple fronts; traditionally, they’ve been dependent on 1-to-1 human interactions. By adding AI-powered tools, hoteliers can empower their staff and deliver on the promise of highly personalized guest experiences travelers now expect—while maintaining a human touch.

Examples of this are:

     
  • Crafting and suggesting personalized responses to reviews on behalf of the hotel, ensuring guests feel heard and valued.
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  • Prioritizing urgent requests by automatically and quickly escalating needs that require staff attention.
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  • Offering personalized recommendations and upsells based on intricate data analysis. With AI, your team won’t need to memorize guest preferences to provide a bespoke experience; they’re all stored in your database and automatically recommended to them at the right time.
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  • Reducing or eliminating wait times, where AI can handle requests almost instantly.

5. Enabling Better Forecasting

Ideally, your crystal ball extends beyond your Pace report. But when your psychic powers start to run thin, AI’s advanced data analytics can help glean insights surrounding anything from revenue strategies to expense optimizations.

Here are several ways artificial intelligence can enable more accurate or responsive predictions in your hotel:

     
  • Optimize expenses through predictive maintenance when applied to vital hotel hardware. Let AI evaluate air conditioning units to reduce unscheduled downtime or mattresses for early bedbug detection.
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  • Adjust pricing according to demand. As exemplified by Airbnb's Smart Pricing tool, dynamic pricing algorithms can adjust room rates, thereby maximizing revenue without manual intervention.
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  • Improve demand predictions and pricing suggestions. When applied to your revenue management systems, AI can combine multiple data sources and apply machine learning in real time, making total revenue management possible for more hotels.

6. Introducing Uniquely Targeted Marketing

By allowing AI to harness guest data, you unlock more opportunities to segment and target your hotel marketing efforts. Generative AI can help brainstorm and develop new email campaigns. It can also identify customer segments most likely to engage with certain offers and promotions, increasing your opportunities for conversion.

Or, when words fail you, tap AI to help you generate compelling marketing content for offer-specific pages on your website.

7. Enhancing Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

AI-driven smart room technology can support optimal energy management by monitoring and controlling HVAC systems and lighting in response to factors like occupancy levels. This not only fosters environmental sustainability but also leads to significant cost reductions.

Key Considerations When Using AI in Hotels

To get the best AI-powered tools for your hotel, there are a few things to consider.

Key Considerations for AI in Hotels

Automation vs, Recommendation

AI can automate tasks traditionally performed by staff while eliminating human error. But artificial intelligence is much more than just “robots,” and implementing AI doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. There are many ways humans can use AI to be more efficient.

Take guest messaging platforms as an example. When the Canary AI assistant can’t answer a question, it’ll redirect the message to your team. The goal is to strike the perfect balance between automation and personalized service for your hotel.

Understanding the Strengths and Limitations of a Tool

Shoe-shining machines excel at polishing footwear, but you wouldn’t buff your silverware with them. Like most tools and services, artificial intelligence also has its limitations.

For example, AI’s ability to detail potential food allergens on tomorrow’s brunch menu is contingent on the accuracy of the data it pulls from. Outdated menus that don’t list all the ingredients would render AI useless in this scenario. Therefore, human oversight in AI remains crucial.

Understanding the intricacies of these systems means recognizing their unique capabilities and shortcomings. Many people worry about AI replacing humans when, in fact, humans are becoming more important in handling AI.

Ethical Use

Ethical AI implementation demands a commitment to eradicating discrimination and biases. Adversarial testing is key to identifying and eliminating potential biases or errors — you’ll need a human touch for this, too. As guardians of guest experiences, your venue and staff are responsible for upholding transparency and accountability within the AI technology framework you use.

Learn more about the ethical use of AI in Canary’s ebook on artificial intelligence.

3 Tips for Selecting the Right AI Vendor

Selecting an AI vendor suited for the hospitality business demands a nuanced approach.

1. Evaluate and assess. Evaluate the tool's infrastructure, information-sharing capabilities, and compatibility. How easily can your organization implement it? And who will be able to access and use it once live?

2. Consider your industry. Seek a custom-built AI model tailored to your industry. Canary AI, for instance, is a hospitality-specific model improving guest experiences through real-time data. By using property-specific knowledge and data from hoteliers, it personalizes guest recommendations, streamlines operations, boosts revenue, and enhances guest experiences.

3. Select a reputable brand. Finally, consider the vendor's enterprise reach and global scale. In hospitality, AI is still a nascent market, so it’s important to partner with a tried and tested vendor who can cover multiple use cases as your business grows and scales.

Keeping Up With AI

When testing and comparing the latest AI developments, it’s more important to prioritize what makes sense for your hotel than it is to “keep up with the Joneses.” Following a healthy mix of industry publications and hospitality tech channels can help you define your most important criteria for implementing AI in hospitality.

Learn How Canary Can Help Your Properties Thrive

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