The Future of Human Hospitality

Monica Or, columnist and Hospitality Consultant at Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy discusses will a humanoid ever be as hospitable as a real life human?.

You don’t need to be a tech geek to realise that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is creeping in to our lives.

Those of you that use Facebook will be familiar with the idea of tagging your friends in photos. If you have ever wondered how it does this, behind the scenes it is artificial intelligence that is using facial recognition software to suggest who is in your photos. This is just one way in which AI shows itself.

Google Assistant is Google’s next generation way of searching with Google. Rather than providing links to websites, Google Assistant is designed to have conversations with you in order to complete tasks.

The big promise of Google Assistant is that it will be able to combine search with task completion. For instance, you might search for a film at a cinema and then have it seamlessly ask if you want to book a ticket and complete that action. Or perhaps you search for places to eat, then Google Assistant magically makes a reservation for you.

Similarly Amazon’s Alexa which is also voice activated will assist you with queries and by being connected to other devices can also control the heating in your home or turn off the lights.

This is just the start of how artificial intelligence is being introduced in to our every day lives. As we get comfortable with AI, it will be expected to be in our hotels too.

Some hotel groups have taken this onboard. Facial recognition is now being used as the way to unlock a bedroom door for example. Actual robots and humanoids are being introduced to hotel guests to give information and answer queries. Through use of cognitive computing these robots learn from every interaction.

Will the use of artificial intelligence ever be able to create a guest experience that at present only us as humans can deliver? Will our guest of the future become so reliant on technology that the human touch is no longer needed?

According to research carried out by Northstar (2017) the applications of artificial intelligence that excite consumers the most are:

36% having call centre bots or avatars with natural language capabilities to deal with any query
50% fully automated vehicles
60% to provide home security – unlocking of doors
30% homes and offices that react instinctively to users needs
54% personal companions and assistance – ability to look after people

From all of this 94% of consumers think it is important that AI devices can understand and communicate using natural human language. Once this is cracked your guest could well be on the receiving end of humanoid rather than human hospitality.

How are you integrating technology in to your guest experience? I will be discussing this in more detail with Hospitality Thought Leaders at an Executive Breakfast organized by Revinate, SiteMinder and IDeaS during World Travel Market.

About Monica Or: As the founder of Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy, Monica specialises in working operationally with the owner/managers of independent hotels and restaurants focusing on their business structure and service delivery. She is the Amazon Best Selling author of ‘Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business’ and ‘Star Quality Experience – The Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Memorable Guest Journeys’.
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