Learning From Other Industries About Artificial Intelligence

By Susan Tinnish Advisory Group Chair, Vistage | June 10, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) existed since the 1950s, but it is only recently has computing power, availability of data and the underlying technology advanced to make it viable in businesses. Artificial intelligence relies upon and includes a variety of technologies and tools including digitization, analytics, big data, and deep learning.

Thierry Hubert, founder and CEO of Darwin Ecosystem, describes AI as "Pattern detection is the fundamental ingredient of all cognitive computing associated with AI…AI unifies our collective knowledge and augments our reasoning ability." Most of us have had experience with AI even if we don't recognize it as such.

A quick list of every-day AI applications includes Netflix offering suggestions based on previous viewing choices, Google Maps providing the best route with the shortest time in real time, Mobile bank deposits deciphering handwriting on checks, Email spam filters that learn what the user considers spam, and Online ads appearing based on past purchases or past searches.

AI Already Present in Hotel Industry

Customer service is a fundamental aspect of the industry. AI provides new possibilities for improving customer service and increase personalization and tailor recommendations to enhance the customer experience. Hotels are using AI to surpasses customer expectations:

Customer Service

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.