Technology has become an integral part of human life. Today, it is undeniable that technological developments and innovations influence the lives of virtually everyone around the globe. In modern-day’s overly dynamic world, life without technology is pointless. One industry that cannot survive without technological innovations is the hotel and hospitality industry. Technology plays a vital role in the hotel industry, particularly in facilitating hotel bookings, streamlining hotel operations, enhancing the guest experience, to improving communication between staff and guests. For instance, virtual reality (VR) gives guests a feel of what a property is like before making their booking decisions (Carter, 2020). Essentially, hoteliers bank on this technology to give their guests a VR tour of the hotel building to get a sense of how it will be to stay there. Artificial Intelligence is also increasingly used to provide personalized solutions for guests in the hotel and hospitality industries. For instance, AI is used in chatbots and direct messaging to provide customer service, particularly in responding to guests’ requests and questions. Therefore, upon taking stewardship of my grandparents’ hotel, technological solutions will assume a pivotal role in driving success. The hotel can improve using new technologies such as AI, machine learning, and VR. This paper explores the significance of automatization in the hotel industry. Technological solutions such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality in the hotel industry are pivotal in enhancing customer service, optimizing revenue management, and driving success.
In the modern-day crowded hotel industry, having a unique selling proposition (USP) is pivotal as it gives hotels an edge over their competitors. Hotels leverage disparate technological innovations such as virtual reality to create a USP to improve customer experience and increase their competitive advantage. Virtual reality is becoming commonplace today and critical to the hotel industry’s success. VR is a computer-generated simulation of an environment that submerges people into a disparate world. (Christodoulidou et al., 2020). When the technology first emerged, it appeared as a novelty, as it was used to add an extra dimension to gaming and entertainment. Even so, this technology is revolutionizing the hotel industry today. For instance, hotels use VR to give guests virtual hotel tours before booking their facilities (Carter, 2020). Essentially, hospitality companies use virtual reality to show their customers around their hotels before checking in. Customers can feel what their hotel rooms will look like and thus make informed decisions about which facility will be better for them. For instance, a VR hotel tour can help guests choose between two hotels. Therefore, customers can have virtual travel experiences with this technology before potentially spending on an expensive vacation. VR hotel tours also help hotels increase their direct bookings as it helps prospective customers quickly make up their minds. Besides, VR is a valuable innovation for people who cannot travel. Essentially, these people can use VR journeys to enjoy new experiences and see disparate places they cannot visit (Carter, 2020). The experience generated by VR can also be used as a marketing tool for hotels. Essentially, hotel owners can use VR to market their spaces to their clients. Hoteliers can use VR to help their potential customers visualize the potential hotels and meeting spaces before they decide whether to make a reservation. This VR experience can be exemplified by Marriot Hotels. In 2014, the brand partnered with Framestore, a creative studio, to develop the “teleporter,” a technology that gives customers a 360-degree view of different travel destinations such as London and Hawaii and a feel of the destination’s winds, heat, and mist (Christodoulou et al., 2020). Today, the brand uses VR as a marketing tool for its event spaces. In a nutshell, VR gives hotels a USP by allowing prospective customers to experience a hotel before booking, thus giving them added reassurance. Besides, virtual reality is also a valuable technology for ill or bed-bound people. Essentially, these people can use technology to get disparate experiences in new places.
Additionally, virtual reality increases a hotel’s ability to up-sell and cross-sell. Essentially, when clients experience a hotel facility through VR, hotel owners get an innovative way of inspiring their guests to buy complementary products and comprehend the value of upgrading. Virtual reality allows travelers to visualize disparate room types and their uniqueness. As a result, it can motivate them to upgrade. Besides, this technology can inspire clients to purchase complementary products or services in a hotel, such as a bottle of champagne or water and room service. For instance, setting a champagne bottle to appear in a VR video when prospective customers view them can inspire them to purchase the additional product when they eventually book the hotel facilities (Revfine, n.d). This way, VR gives hotels the perfect opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell.
Artificial intelligence is also becoming mainstream in the hotel industry. Today, hotels are increasingly adopting AI to execute various functions such as customer service, advanced problem-solving, personalization of tasks, and direct messaging. For instance, it is undeniable that customer service is vital in the hotel industry. AI chips in to improve this aspect. For instance, AI helps hotels provide in-person customer service to their clients. One of the AI robots used in the hotel industry is ‘Connie,’ a resident robot at the McLean hotel, Virginia branch, created in a partnership between Aloft Hotels and IBM. The hotel uses the robot to inform guests about eating places, nearby attractions, and disparate hotel information (Trejos, 2016). The robot can also give customers directions. Aloft Hotels also introduced robot butlers in their hotels to bolster customer experience. The hotel’s robot, dubbed “Botlr,” can travel the entire hotel property to make deliveries such as towels (Rai, 2017). Customers only have to place a request for room service or housekeeping through the SPG application. Botlr then dispatches the items to the customer’s room. Clients can also get a phone call and a robot dance at delivery. Hotels also use AI to respond to customers’ questions and requests through direct messaging and online chat services. Hotels implement chatbots on their mobile applications and websites to provide their customers with on-demand and customer-specific information around the clock. These chatbots are also used in popular hotel chains to redefine the customer experience by enhancing customer engagement. For instance, Hyatt hotels use a Facebook Messenger chatbot to connect and engage its customers (Knight, 2018). Guests can make hotel reservations and request information about hotel offers and room availability using the chatbot. Essentially, the chatbot helped Hyatt hotels improve the speed and efficiency of solving guest queries, thus increasing overall hotel bookings. In 2017, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas also introduced its interactive chatbot dubbed Rose to help its customers. The chatbot executes essential functions such as customer bookings and reservations (Newsroom, 2017). Rose can also move guests around the hotels and surprise them on the way. It can also guide guests through art tours, give customers suggestions on the ideal restaurants, and arrange for the delivery of amenities such as towels and pillows. The bot can also entertain guests by playing games. This way, hotels can enhance customer experience, communication, and guest satisfaction. The long-term effect of enhanced customer experience and satisfaction is increased bookings and customer loyalty. Other than customer service, artificial intelligence is also used in the hotel industry for data analytics to enhance hotel performance. Hotels rely on this technology to analyze data collected from various sources, such as online reviews and surveys, to arrive at conclusions about their overall performance.
Machine learning is also becoming increasingly important in hotels. Machine learning can be used in the hotel industry’s operational analytics, revenue management, and customer service (Parvez, 2020). For instance, in revenue management, this technology uses supervised learning techniques to predict the best prices, demand, and yield tactics (Altexsoft, 2018). In demand forecasting, machine learning uses data from travel APIs to analyze market conditions. It helps assess the occupancy of hotel facilities, prices offered by competitors, types of rooms, and public events at disparate destinations. This forecasting approach helps hotels provide the ideal prices for customers across disparate segments (Altexsoft, 2018). Demand forecasting through machine learning also helps companies understand the interests of prospective clients and describe their price elasticity. AI also enhances yield management in the hotel and hospitality industry. In hotels, yield management aims to maximize revenue opportunities when there is a high demand and ensure maximum occupancy when there is low demand (Altexsoft, 2018). Machine learning and AI chip in to promote automated decision-making regarding the choice of the yield tactic for disparate customer segments. This way, hotels can optimize revenue while controlling the utilization of restaurants, rooms, and conference halls.
Embracing the latest technologies in the hotel industry is pivotal for optimal performance, customer service experience, and revenue management. Machine learning, AI, and virtual reality are some of the technological solutions increasingly becoming commonplace in the hotel industry. For instance, hotels use VR to improve customer service and increase their up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. Essentially, hotels rely on this technology to give their prospective clients a VR tour of the hotel facilities, thus helping them make the ideal choice before making reservations. This is also a viable marketing strategy for hotels to showcase their hotels. Besides, hotels use VR to up-sell and cross-sell by showcasing complementary products and services such as room service and drinks. AI is also important in hotels as it helps enhance customer service, problem-solving, and personalization. On its part, machine learning optimizes revenue management in the hotel industry. For instance, machine learning facilitates demand forecasting for hotels to ensure that these facilities provide the best prices for customers across disparate market segments.
- Altexsoft. (2018). Machine Learning Redefines Revenue Management and Dynamic Pricing in Hotel Industry. www.altexsoft.com/blog/datascience/machine-learning-redefines-revenue-management-and-dynamic-pricing-in-hotel-industry/
- Carter, R. (2020). Hilton Hotels and how VR is changing Hospitality. XR Today. www.xrtoday.com/virtual-reality/hilton-hotels-and-how-vr-is-changing-hospitality/
- Christodoulidou, N., Nadkarni, S., & Bliznik, S. (2020). Virtual Reality and Its Possibilities for Hospitality. Hospitality Technology. https://hospitalitytech.com/virtual-reality-and-its-possibilities-hospitality
- Knight, E. (2018). Five Real Examples of Hotels That are Using Chatbots on Facebook. Medium. https://email@example.com/five-real-examples-of-hotels-that-are-using-chatbots-on-facebook-ea5ebf596942
- Newsroom. (2017). The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas introduces interactive chatbot. Hotel Management. www.hotelmanagement.net/tech/cosmopolitan-las-vegas-introduces-interactive-chatbot
- Parvez, M. O. (2020). Use of machine learning technology for tourist and organizational services: high-tech innovation in the hospitality industry. Journal of Tourism Futures.
- Rai, S. (2017). Aloft Hotels introduces robot butlers. Hotelier. www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/uncategorized/30638-aloft-hotels-introduces-robot-butlers
- Revfine. (n.d.). 6 Reasons Why Every Hotel Should Have a Virtual Reality Video. www.revfine.com/virtual-reality-video-for-hotels/
- Trejos, N. (2016). Introducing Connie, Hilton’s new robot concierge. USA Today. www.usatoday.com/story/travel/roadwarriorvoices/2016/03/09/introducing-connie-hiltons-new-robot-concierge/81525924/