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How AI Will Define The Future For The Hotel Industry There is a natural evolution with advancements in AI, as consumers are now getting accustomed to self-service in the travel industry through apps

By Sarbendra Sarkar

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In a world where consumers are increasingly flooded with information and a multitude of options, hotels are striving to find new ways to acquire and build customer loyalty.

Travelers expect exceptional customer service. They are demanding a high degree of personalization at every step of the way in their travel. In addition, there is a sea of information surrounding an ever-growing complexity in a hotel's operations making it challenging to deliver winning experiences and run a healthy, responsive operation at the same time.

How Well Do You Know Your Customer?

The future of hospitality rests on knowing your customer in a deeply personal way. Over the past several years, hotels have focused on creating a differentiated physical place to stay. Today, it is about creating exceptional and individual experiences from trip planning through to check-out and their return home. Starting with the first casual visit to the website, presenting personalized options and recommendations, to capturing user preferences and behavior in the process to book a room, leading to the actual guest experience at the hotel, capturing details on the food ordered and usage of other amenities, there is a sea of information that could be intelligently used to create superior guest experiences in the future.

Artificial Intelligence is a key element of Big Data – also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The rationale behind is simple and complex at the same time: to find out as much as possible about a customer by using comprehensive data management to then use the insights in order to meet the customer's individual needs. Big Bata stands for individuality. The essential resource is data – enormous amounts of data. The more the data, the better.

AI, The Secret Sauce

In today's world it is near impossible to capture all the traits that elaborately define a customer's persona through the traditional feedback and survey forms. This is where Artificial Intelligence becomes an infinitely powerful medium to invisibly and unobtrusively capture the zillion data points for thousands of guests and convert these to contextual, analytical, actionable insights to be used for a great experience at every point of the customer lifecycle.

Additionally, as consumers are now accustomed to self-service in and beyond the travel industry through kiosks and apps, there is an accelerated natural evolution with advancements in AI and robotic capabilities to directly deliver guest service in the industry. Use of robots for concierge services, AI assistants powered by IBM Watson and huge travel databases can notify travelers of interesting attractions and sites around their place of stay.

The Power of AI Driving Your Hotel's Operations

Hotels of the now and future greatly need a connected platform and ecosystem that is constantly acquiring, contextualizing, processing and analyzing customer data, and turning it into predictive and actionable insights for generating a superior guest experience. Such a process will enable hotels to leverage the data coming from across the front to back offices. Applying AI will enable companies to harness and translate all of this disparate and unstructured data into accessible smart insights in a cost effective way.

Information captured automatically from bookings, transactions, satisfaction surveys or third party providers, as well as observation data recorded by every member of the hotel staff, are very valuable. This data can be leveraged by hotels for analytics to determine guest personas and create customized services, communications and promotional offers that provide targeted and unique experiences.

Hotels could map the total guest journey, both digital and in-person, to identify patterns around guest experience preferences and shortcomings. This can then be used to assess and prioritize service areas for proactive improvement, such as offering options and experiences very individual specific to delight the senses.

Sarbendra Sarkar

MD & Founder, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts

Sarbendra Sarkar is the MD & Founder of Cygnett Hotels & Resorts. With an aim to provide a Cygnetture service experience to all its guests, the Cygnett Hotels & Resorts was established in 2012. And after two years of R&D, in April 2014 it started operating in India.

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