Revolutionizing The Hospitality Industry With Generative AI
A Guide for Prompt Engineering and Introducing AI Agents
By Michael Goldrich Founder & Chief Advisor, Vivander Advisors | December 2023
In merely 5 days last November, the Generative AI application ChatGPT reached one million users, a feat that took Facebook 10 months and Netflix 3.5 years to accomplish.
This revolutionary shift has impacted numerous industries, with marketing teams being the early adopters. However, the potential of ChatGPT extends far beyond trained marketers. Despite its power, there remains a fundamental lack of understanding about its capabilities. Once fully grasped, ChatGPT presents countless opportunities for hoteliers, both in revenue generation and operations.
To create a program capable of conversing with humans, the AI must learn to choose the right words. This process involves machine learning, a technique pioneered by Claude Shannon. He identified patterns in the English language that can be utilized to generate new sentences, and subsequently developed a computer program to produce novel sentences by randomly selecting words fitting these patterns.
At times, the computer program would become stuck due to the lack of suitable words fitting the pattern. Scientists resolved this issue through a technique called voting, where the program identifies groups of words that match the end of a sentence it's trying to generate, and counts how many times each word appears after these groups of words in the examples it has been provided. The program then selects the next word based on the highest number of votes.
To enable ChatGPT, two additional techniques are required: feature detection and natural language processing. Feature detection classifies specific words or phrases in a piece of writing into different categories. Natural language processing (NLP) teaches computers to both understand and communicate with humans through language. This involves analyzing the meanings and relationships between words and phrases.
The language model, an artificial intelligence program, learns to comprehend and generate human-like text based on patterns observed in data sourced from a vast array of text sources. This allows the model to learn grammar, vocabulary, and contextual information, generating coherent and relevant text.
ChatGPT stands out due to its advanced capabilities, high-quality text generation, versatility, transfer learning, fine-tuning, customization, and easy integration. These features make it a popular choice for various applications, including content generation, summarization, question-answering, translation, programming help, and more.
One of the most vital concepts in working with OpenAI is the prompt. While the OpenAI prompt might appear as a simple search bar, it is actually the entry point for initiating a session to acquire information through free-form communication. When crafting a prompt, it is essential to be clear and concise while also supplying sufficient detail for the AI to comprehend the context and desired result. The saying "Garbage In, Garbage Out" has never been more fitting when it comes to prompt creation.
Factors that could confuse the system or result in "garbage" include: Context (unclear context may lead to poor output quality in responses), Domain knowledge (it might be unaware of events, discoveries, or information changes since September 2021), Ambiguity (ambiguous information or questions in the input message), Language (its primary focus and strength lie in English, and it may offer less accurate responses in other languages), idiomatic expressions and slang, and fact-checking (it depends on the data it was trained on and cannot independently verify facts).
To maximize the potential of ChatGPT, it's crucial to understand the components of a good prompt and provide clear, concise input with sufficient context while using the model within its knowledge and capabilities.
The emergence of "prompt engineers" across various industries highlights the importance of crafting well-thought-out prompts to yield valuable output. The remainder of this article will use a fictional hotel, Vivander Hotel, as an example to explore the anatomy of a prompt and demonstrate how to effectively combine its components.
Unlike Google, where minimal effort is required when conducting a search, the opposite is true with ChatGPT. To get a good answer, it requires a good amount of forethought. This is why there is a new role through various industries called "prompt engineers". These are people that know who to create prompts that yield valuable output.
For the purpose of the remainder of this article, we will use a fictional hotel called the Vivander Hotel that has a key target audience of millennials, and it is located in Las Vegas. The below are parts of the prompt anatomy. At the end, we will put them all together with a few examples.
Provide Clear Instructions: Start by telling what you want it to do. For example, you could prompt the system to write a captivating blog post about Vivander Hotel for millennials.
Share Context or Background Information: Include important details in the prompt to help the system understand the topic. For instance, you could mention that Vivander Hotel has a rooftop bar, a fitness center, and a chic lounge area.
Specify Desired Format or Structure: Tell the system how you want the information to be presented. For instance, you could prompt the system to create an infographic with five reasons why millennials should choose Vivander Hotel.
Set the Tone and Style: Provide guidelines on how you want the writing to sound. For example, you could prompt the system to write an upbeat and modern review of Vivander Hotel for a millennial audience.
Identify the Target Audience: Tell the system which the writing is for. For instance, you could prompt the system to write a social media caption for millennials to promote Vivander Hotel.
Provide Examples: Show the system what you want by giving examples. For instance, you could prompt the system to write a tweet about Vivander Hotel, such as "FOMO? Experience the ultimate getaway at Vivander Hotel! #TravelGoals #VivanderVibes."
Establish Constraints or Limitations: Tell the system what to avoid. For example, you could prompt the system not to mention other hotels or competitors when writing about Vivander Hotel.
Define the Role of the AI: Tell the system how it can help. For example, you could prompt the system to help be the global expert in brainstorming and help brainstorm unique event ideas for millennials at Vivander Hotel.
Personalize the Writing: Make the writing special for someone. For example, you could prompt the system to write a customized email offer for a specific person to stay at Vivander Hotel.
Include a Call-to-Action: Tell the reader what to do. For example, you could prompt the system to write "Swipe up now to book your epic stay at Vivander Hotel."
Use Keywords: Include specific words in the prompt. For example, you could prompt the system to use the words "Vivander Hotel," "rooftop bar," and "millennials" in a catchy tagline.
Provide Sources: Tell the system where to find information. For example, you could prompt the system to visit Vivander Hotel's Instagram page to find inspiration for a millennial-focused social media post.
How do we put all this together?
In the below examples, I put in parentheses the component parts of the prompts described above.
- Write a captivating blog post for millennials (Clear Instructions) about Vivander Hotel (Share Context or Background Information) showcasing its unique features, including the rooftop bar, fitness center, and chic lounge area (Identify Target Audience and Share Context or Background Information). Use a conversational and upbeat tone (Set Tone and Style) and include at least five reasons why millennials should choose Vivander Hotel in an infographic format (Specify Desired Format or Structure). Avoid mentioning other hotels or competitors (Establish Constraints or Limitations) and use the keywords "Vivander Hotel," "rooftop bar," and "millennials" in the title and body of the post (Use Keywords). Provide sources of information such as the hotel's website and social media pages (Provide Sources) and include a call-to-action at the end of the post to book a stay at Vivander Hotel (Include a Call-to-Action).
- Personalize an email offer (Personalize the Writing) to a millennial named John Sullivan (Identify the Target Audience) offering a special package deal for his upcoming stay at Vivander Hotel (Share Context or Background Information). Provide clear instructions on how to book the offer and include the hotel's contact information (Clear Instructions and Provide Sources). Use an upbeat and modern tone (Set Tone and Style) and include a call-to-action to book the offer (Include a Call-to-Action). Avoid mentioning other hotels or competitors (Establish Constraints or Limitations) and use the keywords "Vivander Hotel" and "millennials" in the subject line and body of the email (Use Keywords). Specify the desired format as an email (Specify Desired Format or Structure) and provide examples of similar deals that have been offered by the hotel (Provide Examples).
- Write a social media caption (Identify Target Audience) for millennials (Share Context or Background Information) to promote the grand opening of the new rooftop bar (Share Context or Background Information) at Vivander Hotel. Use an upbeat and modern tone (Set Tone and Style) and include a call-to-action to visit the bar (Include a Call-to-Action). Specify the desired format as a social media caption (Specify Desired Format or Structure) and use the keywords "Vivander Hotel," "rooftop bar," and "millennials" in the caption (Use Keywords). Avoid mentioning other hotels or competitors (Establish Constraints or Limitations) and provide examples of other successful social media posts that have been used to promote the hotel's amenities (Provide Examples). Provide sources of information such as the hotel's social media pages (Provide Sources).
- Help brainstorm unique event ideas (Define the Role of the AI) for a millennial-focused event (Identify Target Audience) at Vivander Hotel. Use a conversational and creative tone (Set Tone and Style) and provide clear instructions on submitting the event ideas (Clear Instructions). Specify the desired format as a list of event ideas (Specify Desired Format or Structure) and include examples of successful events hosted at the hotel (Provide Examples). Avoid mentioning other hotels or competitors (Establish Constraints or Limitations) and use the keywords "Vivander Hotel" and "millennials" in the prompt (Use Keywords). Personalize the writing by addressing the prompt to the reader (Personalize the Writing) and provide sources of information such as the hotel's website and social media pages (Provide Sources).
Because developing a good prompt is just the first part because though they are not yet available, AI Agents will soon be introduced, and they need a clear prompt to ensure they are properly activated.
An AI agent can perform specific tasks autonomously. Unlike a prompt, a specific instruction described above, an AI agent is a self-contained program designed to carry out tasks with little or no intervention from humans.
The ultimate purpose of an AI agent is to automate repetitive tasks. The benefits of AI agents include faster and more accurate task completion, increased efficiency, and improved customer experiences. AS with every new technology, there are also potential drawbacks, such as the possibility of errors or unintended consequences.
In the hospitality industry, AI agents can be utilized in several areas. Marketing teams can use AI agents to analyze customer data and create targeted campaigns based on guest preferences and behavior. Sales teams can employ AI agents to respond to customer inquiries and make personalized recommendations for accommodations and other services. Revenue management teams can benefit from AI agents that analyze pricing and demand data in real time, adjusting room rates to maximize revenue. Operations teams can leverage AI agents to schedule housekeeping and maintenance services, optimizing efficiency and guest satisfaction.
If you stop and think about the potential dark side of AI Agents from the hotel's marketing team perspective (find a book me a hotel for tonight that is nearby and has at least a 4-star rating, and is less than $200 a night), this is quite scary because all the effort made to digitally get the guest's attention is bypassed by the AI that is just booking a nearby hotel that meets the prompt requirements.
Opportunities & Challenges
The introduction of AI agents presents both opportunities and challenges for hotels, ownership teams, and brands. The first step in embracing generative AI is to assess the next step is to invest in education and training for key team members. This includes understanding the capabilities and limitations of generative AI, learning how to create effective prompts, and staying updated on the latest developments in the field. Providing team members with the knowledge and tools to navigate this new technology will help ensure that the company can maximize the benefits of AI integration.
Once the company has identified its needs and goals, the next step is pinpointing the specific use cases for Generative AI. These could encompass anything from personalized marketing campaigns, email blast calendars, and guest sentiment analysis to trends analysis from analytics. By determining the use cases, companies can devise a plan for employing Generative AI to achieve their objectives.
After identifying the specific use cases, companies must ascertain the resources they need to carry out their plan. This might range from conducting workshops and training, investing in new technology infrastructure, and/or collaborating with third-party vendors with specialized knowledge of the hospitality industry and this technology. By comprehending the required resources, companies can establish a realistic timeline and budget for their Generative AI strategy.
A Generative AI strategy should encompass a plan not just for implementation but also for ongoing monitoring and optimization. This involves consistently reviewing the data and insights generated by the technology and making adjustments as needed.
Training and upskilling employees is another crucial component of a Generative AI strategy. Companies need to ensure that their employees possess the skills and knowledge necessary to work effectively with the new technology. This may involve investing in training programs or partnering with educational institutions to create customized courses.
Lastly, an effective Generative AI strategy necessitates a culture of innovation and experimentation. Companies must be willing to take risks and try novel approaches to fully harness the potential of the technology. Companies can stay ahead and position themselves for long-term success when they adopt a culture of innovation.
Generative AI presents a very significant opportunity for companies to drive growth, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. Yet, for them to fully capitalize on the potential of the technology, companies must take the time and develop a comprehensive strategy that aligns with their business objectives. The internal teams are already utilizing it, so it is crucial to ensure everyone is using it correctly to maximize profits and productivity.
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