No matter how we fear (or let’s say feared, coz we’re getting used to it now) talkative, big brother-like, know-all, do-all AI tech taking over our lives… we’re all getting into happy relationships with an Alexa or a SIRI - “genies” who do our bidding (a lot of it, you gotta agree)… instantly!!
And what’s not to like when that same Genie-like presence makes your downtime from daily-life –Hotel stay – heaven-like! You don’t have to lift a finger to flip a switch or dial a digit but you get things almost before you ask? Can you hear an angel’s harp-strings in your ears?
Wishful thinking? No more!
Hotels, a hotbed of customer service in action, 24X7, are quickly upping their AIQ (smarter than ever IQ+EQ), as they know the havoc that a single bitter or uncomfortable customer experience can play with their business. What with online reviews being posted in seconds for the whole world to view and review. So, they are bringing in the big AI-guns:
- Smart Concierges
Imagine dealing with an angry guest at the front desk. How would the hotel staff react? Think.
- Not take it personally (Never?)
- Be polite and logical (Always?)
- Never argue back (even when the customer’s wrong?)
- Be patient (losing it already?)
- Aim only to help, kill with kindness (or just kill?)
- Relax and be calm – zero stress (what??)
Get that virtual customer service assistant to do all that for you!
Answering repetitive queries consistently and smartly is something that tech-Jeeves can help its human counterparts with. Ask the booking desk about the number of times they have to answer the same basic questions over and over again, leaving them to hurry through the bigger issues being raised:
These are just a few of the daily bombardment of queries. Humans just don’t have it in them to answer these with just the right attitude each time. So who can? An AI concierge of course!
- AI-based Virtual Assistants for hotels
All hotels have a set of rules, a way they do things, and err…quirks that guests have to figure out when they arrive. Until they do chart out the lay of the land, these guest wander around in alien territory, dazed and confused or (more likely) in a huff because they’re not getting the service they expect. Well, AI-based Virtual Assistants can change all of that and help your guests’ stays be the most memorable for all the right reasons! No matter how great the hotel, awkward calls to front desk to ask the most basic questions are just unavoidable. Well, AI would nip the awkwardness and hesitance in the bud. Let’s look at some examples, shall we?
- Meal suggestions and orders – “What’s good here?” “Do you have any seasonal offerings?” “What does the chef recommend?” All these questions and more answered without the need for an exasperated waiting staff trying their darndest to stop their eyes from rolling into oblivion.
- Room service requests – Sometimes a guest just doesn’t want fancy foie anything, they just want a good ‘ol cheeseburger - All they have to do is ask the AI and skip the judgment!
- Itinerary planning – When holidaying in a foreign land, hotel guests want to skip the Google recommendations and see the “real sights”. AI Virtual assistants help plan the trip of their lifetimes without the pain of standing in line to talk to a long-suffering front desk assistant (who is embroiled in an I-didn’t-use-the-minibar issue).
- Cab bookings – For the lack of Uber everywhere or their phone being on the fritz, guests call the front desk for a cab, but guess what? Mr. Didn’t-take-anything-from-the-minibar is still there! What’s gonna happen to their day now? Well, their friendly neighborhood virtual customer service assistant can just hail a cab instead.
- Asking for a toothbrush (and other essentials) – Yep, we’ve all been there. Arrived at a hotel, forgot your toothbrush, and looked high and low in the bathroom but just couldn’t find one. If a virtual assistant for hotels is in place, guests can skip all tedium of dialing a bunch of numbers each time they need something.
- Voice-activated services for better interaction
Sometimes guests just want to watch the idiot box so that the sweet, soothing, dulcet tones of their favorite sit-com character can lull them to sleep. But they can’t always find the remote, and when they do, the battery is low so they hit it repeatedly on the back but the thing just won’t work and now they’re missing their favorite show! Then they call and wait for a replacement. Fuming all the while! Guess whose online review is taking a hit for that?
Or they walk into their room, tired from a long day’s sight-seeing and the central cooling isn’t quite cool enough. There they are, lying spread-eagled on the bed and in no mood to go fiddle with the thermostat.
If you get your voice-activated services up and running, your guests just have to say the words to the room literally, and they receive. And you’ll be riding those five-star reviews all the way to the bank.
No customer likes waiting around at check-out time either. They either have a flight or train to catch or somewhere else they’d rather be. Imagine how simple it is for the guest to just inform the smart device in the room that check out time is nigh, and the bill should be ready in say the next 10 minutes. A quicker turnaround makes everyone happy, and a bespoke voice-activated service can definitely help make it happen.
- Crunch the Numbers for Optimal Hotel Management
Big Data and Analytics are another way that hotels can anticipate customer needs and make sure they’re ready to meet them.
Are rooms going full because there’s a dungeons and Dragons mega tournament (that you never heard about) happening in your town every year? Analytics would immediately pick up on this trend and clue you in so that you can adjust rates accordingly.
Or you could have a regular who orders a coffee and a grilled sandwich at 2 am every time he stays over. Having analytics on your side will flag that pattern too, and you can make sure your kitchen has a pot brewing and his favorite sandwich ready to go the next time he stays over and that inevitable order comes.
The applications for analytics are endless and the more data you gather over a longer period, the more insights you can glean, making your hotel more efficient, and your customer happier.
What makes or breaks a hospitality industry reputation is providing the guests “superlative” not just “satisfactory” service – say industry insiders. That’s the “holy grail” status given to great customer service, great support response and quick resolution.
There were times when “not bad at all” meant your hotel was in business. Not so now. In these times when customers expect frictionless engagement, the virtual assistants armed with their omniscient “Ask and it will be done NOW” capabilities are just the friends your staff need to help keep your hotels brimming and buzzing.