The growing use of digital innovation in the hospitality industry is pushing organisations to rethink the way they operate. Smart rooms, AI-powered chatbots and robot concierges are designed to provide guests with a more seamless check-in experience, real-time pricing or answers to questions on local dining and sightseeing options.
These are just some of the ways that the industry is exploring how to harness AI and digital innovation to create a unique guest experience.
Although plenty of technological ideas are arising, the practical aspects of implementing change and importantly, highlighting the value to guests is not so clear cut. The fact that many aspects of AI and digital innovation take place behind the scenes means the hotel’s tailor-made service offering is not always immediately apparent to customers. Based on our own insights into the use of AI and the hospitality industry*, Mazars has put the spotlight on three ways the industry can highlight the value of digital innovation to guests.
1. Create a connection
With digital innovation acting as a disruptor to the hotel booking process and social media platforms increasingly being used to research travel needs, the hospitality industry needs to create stronger connections with guests. AI savvy hospitality groups are already recognising the benefits of using smart technology to draw attention and create loyalty. Examples include Hilton’s Connected Room initiative, which gives a high degree of room personalisation and control by allowing guests to set preferred temperature, control lighting or continue watching shows or movies they were streaming at home. Another example is Accor’ Smart Room concept that includes doors fitted with an assisted open and close system, an olfactory alarm clock, a system to help you get to sleep, as well as a touchscreen tablet that controls all of the room’s functions.
As the use of AI and digital innovation increases, the ability to differentiate a unique service offering will become harder to recognise, yet at the same time will be increasingly important. At Mazars, our experience in collaborating at all stages of strategic planning means we have the knowledge and expertise to interpret and implement your vision to all stakeholders, and to help shine a light on your unique service offering and improve the value of your digital innovation strategy.
2. Reflect cultural differences
Taking cultural differences into account can ensure AI-related innovation is targeted more effectively. For example, when asked about memorable hospitality experiences in our most recent survey on the use of AI in the hospitality industry, British and American guests focused on location; French and Germans particularly remember comfort and the quality of food; whereas Chinese travellers tend to focus more on service speed and convenience. Drilling down into guest needs based on age as well as nationality will help to pinpoint service requirements even more accurately. Ensuring AI-powered services are flexible enough to reflect such preferences will be an important differentiator in terms of highlighting their value.
3. Incorporate a human touch
Having human staff around to explain and guide guests to AI-powered services, as well as being present to fulfil more complex guest related tasks and requirements, not only helps highlight how AI is providing a unique service but allows human staff to focus on delivering an exceptional service. Carefully integrating AI into the human service process, rather than treating it as an add on service, can help to identify the value of AI more easily. A key differentiator going forward will be how successful organisations are at seamlessly embedding their chosen AI innovation at an operational level, so that it both enhances and complements the desired guest experience.
To learn more, please download our Mazars 2018 Global study on AI in the hospitality industry “Artificial Intelligence: A Game Changer in the Hospitality Industry”.