How AI is enhancing hospitality

In the fast-paced world of hospitality, exceptional guest experiences are no longer just a luxury, they’re a necessity. We already know that artificial intelligence is transforming various sectors, from health care and transportation to finance to capabilities like image recognition, automated driving and fraud detection. Hospitality is no different. AI is now ushering in a new era of guest-centricity, enabling hotel managers to elevate service standards and redefine the art of hospitality.  

In short, the opportunity for AI to transform guest experience is tremendous. But before we explore potential use cases, let’s define what we mean by artificial intelligence.  

The Two Types of AI: Predictive vs. Generative 

To understand AI opportunities within hospitality, we first need to look at predictive and generative AI. These are two differing, yet related, approaches. They both serve distinct purposes and functions:  

  • Predictive AI studies historical data, identifies patterns and predicts what is likely to happen in the future. In a hotel setting, predictive AI can recommend add-ons based on guest data or identify future occupancy levels.  
  • Generative AI uses the data it was trained on to create something original—like music or art. This approach combines deep learning neural network techniques and algorithms to generate content. In hospitality, generative AI can be used to provide responses and recommendations to guests.  

Creating Superior Guest Experiences

Both predictive and generative AI can be used to analyze large datasets, helping hoteliers craft personalized guest experiences based on preferences, behaviors and past interactions. There are a number of use cases where AI transforms various aspects of hotel operations—all without compromising on the human touch. Here are a few examples of predictive and generative AI at work: 

Prioritizing guest requests—Hotel staff are often inundated with guest requests, but naturally, some are higher priority than others. For example, a water leak is more urgent than a room-service request for a bottle of wine. AI can help hotel managers quickly prioritize guest requests by assessing urgency and guest sentiment.   

Sorting and summarizing messages—According to Canary Technologies’ proprietary data, the top five guest queries are early check-in requests, late check-in requests, Wi-Fi information, room status, and check-in time. Predictive AI can be used to help your team categorize and summarize these guest messages—and in many cases, automatically respond. 

Providing responses and recommendations—Generative AI can go a step further and provide suggested or automated responses to guests with completely new content, which does not need to be pre-set by your team.   

Offering instant responses to guest reviews—AI helps with reviews in two main ways. It can suggest responses that you edit, or it can automatically generate and push appropriate responses based on the content of the review.  

Turning reviews into actionable insights—Hotels can quickly scan hundreds of reviews with AI to summarize common highlights and areas for improvement without having to make a spreadsheet or spend hours on the task.   

Personalizing offers for guests—Predictive AI models can greatly increase your upselling success by pushing the right offers to the right guests at the right time. Upselling tools with AI built in can consider guest preferences, interests and purchase history when making suggestions.   

Booking travel and suggesting itineraries—Instead of manually searching for the best deals or attractions, AI chatbots use the information given to them, like your guests’ pre-existing data plus the information they provide, to generate highly personalized itineraries. 

Identifying and preventing fraud—Fraud detection models are becoming more sophisticated at predicting multiple data sources to determine whether a credit card transaction is likely to be fraudulent. Past card behavior, flagged individuals and even email addresses that have little to no history can be used to identify potential fraud.  

From prioritizing requests and automating responses to generating actionable insights and personalized offers, it's clear that AI technology has immense potential to elevate the hospitality experience. Now, let's delve into key considerations for successfully implementing AI to further improve guest interactions. 

Considerations for Implementing AI to Improve Guest Experience 

Hotel managers should align AI implementation with their overall guest experience strategy. Identify key touchpoints where AI can add value, such as booking, check-in, in-room services and post-stay feedback. Think about establishing robust data collection mechanisms to gather guest information ethically and transparently. This data forms the bedrock for AI algorithms to create tailored experiences.  

It’s important to maintain guest trust by ensuring compliance with data protection regulations. Training is key, too, to empower staff to collaborate seamlessly with AI systems. Training programs that familiarize staff with AI capabilities can enable them to provide meaningful insights and recommendations, enhancing the overall guest experience. 

When all of this is managed, AI can take care of routine tasks, freeing up hotel staff to focus on creating memorable moments for guests. Hotel managers can empower their teams to engage in personalized interactions and address unique guest needs, fostering genuine human connection. 

SJ Sawhney is the co-founder of Canary Technologies.