Does My Hotel Really Need Robots? Artificial Intelligence Trends for Todays Hotels
By Tema Frank CEO, Frank Reactions | April 29, 2018
When hotel owners and managers hear about cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, they typically have one of two reactions. Some are excited, eagerly looking for ways to incorporate the latest and greatest into their business. This is often a reaction from big, high-end hotel chains that have money to invest in leading- edge experiments, such as Hilton's robot concierge, Connie. At the other end of the spectrum are those who figure it is all over-hyped, and even if there are some cool things new technology enables, it is way too expensive for their hotel. For most hoteliers, though, the correct answer lies somewhere in the middle.
AI is rapidly changing the industry. Some of the applications are flashy and – for the moment – expensive. But many others are behind the scenes, enabling higher profits and more satisfied customers, often at a price that even small hotels can afford.
In fact, you are probably already be using AI without realizing it. When Netflix recommends the perfect show for you to watch next, Google predicts what you are about to type, or Siri answers your question, you have benefited from the powers of AI. At its simplest, AI is software that uses an approach called "machine learning" or "reinforcement learning" so that not everything has to be pre-programmed. Instead, the machine "learns" in ways similar to a human, through trial and error. Because computing power has increased and its costs decreased so dramatically in recent years, it can go through many more rounds of trial and error and thus improve much faster than a human can, and it can detect patterns that are too complex for human brains to spot.
So, for example, instead of Netflix being programmed to suggest the latest Avengers movie to males between the ages of 25 - 45 who live in Chicago, it can go much deeper, combining what it knows about people like you (using far more than just age, gender, and where you live) and its knowledge of what you personally have enjoyed in the past to come up with much more accurate, personalized recommendations, that change as your interests do. The more data the system gets, the better it gets at knowing what to suggest next.
Hilton's robot concierge, Connie.... the first Watson-enabled robot concierge in the hospitality industry
AI has already started shaking up the hospitality world and its potential applications are booming. Here are a few examples: