5 Ways Entrepreneurs Are Harnessing AI to Increase Profits for the European Hospitality Industry
The European hospitality industry has experienced huge disruption in recent years. Peer-to-peer networks, media and review sites make it easier for customers to have their voices heard -- for better or worse -- making doing business ever more competitive.
However, in recent years, artificial intelligence (AI), combined with machine and symbolic learning, creates opportunities within the industry to tailor experiences to customers, streamline business processes and manage reputations. These allow hospitality companies to carve out a competitive edge and not only survive but thrive in a busy and ever-evolving market.
Here are five examples of how AI can inspire the European hospitality industry to increase revenue.
1. Semantic analysis and data science
Travel Appeal uses these words to describe its mission to give clients handy tips to apply immediately, such as improving hotel Wi-Fi. Or it can suggest a rise in the price of hotel rooms because there will be “Fashion Week” in a city. It touts 280,000 local events worldwide in its vast database. To accomplish this service, the platform analyzes customer comments, videos and posts held in what Travel Appeal calls the world’s largest and most efficient “Travel Data Lake.” These inspired entrepreneurs say that the platform can recommend that clients pay attention to customer sentiment for a potential 25 percent increase in revenue.
2. AI recommendation engine for travel
Gilad Berenstein, entrepreneur, veteran traveler and founder and CEO of Utrip, decided to assemble a team to develop an online tool that can successfully plan an itinerary for travelers. Its AI algorithm sifts through millions of travel preferences across hospitality sectors that are stored in its database. The platform then puts together a personalized itinerary for individuals or clients of travel agencies.
The TUI Group has an extensive European travel portfolio and jumped right in to team up with Utrip’s AI-powered trip-planning service. Due to this upgrade in service, the BBC reports that a rise in hotel and cruise bookings has helped this European travel group sail through another year with a more than 10 percent growth in profits.
3. Smartphones and robots
Hotels are doing away with reception desks. Guests can now check in and even unlock rooms using smartphones. The elimination of an employee at a front desk reduces costs and increases profits. But robots can also carry out the basic task of check-in as well as provide room service. CNN Travel announced that the first diminutive humanoid robot named Mario has been working in a Marriott hotel in Ghent, Belgium since June of 2015. It works as a receptionist, speaks 19 languages, uses facial recognition software and has two cameras that can store customer faces for six months.
The Marriott reported a 5 percent increase in guest satisfaction the same month a robot is employed. Hotel guests love using their smartphones, talking to a little robot and always return to the Marriott for its novelty and their comfort -- repeat returns increase income.
4. Intelligent personal assistant
No need to pack an Echo for a trip. The Clarion’s Stockholm location advertises the addition of AI and the Amazon Echo to provide room service. Guests can directly request rides to city events, ask for suggestions of a restaurant serving fresh and local food, or just order room service and get answers to hotel-related questions. No more searching through hotel phone contact numbers! This voice-activated AI assistant makes tourist travel easier and personable. The result is raving reviews that generate more guest visits and thus, more revenue.
5. Computer vision and symbolic learning
Monugram is the latest craze in Italy that's sometimes called “the Shazam for monuments.” It’s an app that recognizes a monument from a picture taken on a smartphone and then tells its history. Simply put, this complex recognition technique uses computer vision, a component of AI symbolic learning, to transform data from a still or video camera to produce a decision or a new representation. The innovator of this app says that tour businesses can use the co-branded model of Monugram for activation and monthly subscription fees. The payoff for them is a 12 to 15 percent commission as tourists purchase activities directly from the website.