AI can improve guest experience
25.04.2024 Africa   17
AI can improve guest experience

In the era of personalization, artificial intelligence can help the hospitality industry improve the customer experience. And instead of being afraid, it should be embraced.

Over the past year, with the advent of generative AI, AI has become a buzzword across all industries, but it has been around for over a decade. During a recent panel discussion at WTM Africa, industry experts discussed how the hospitality sector should view this technology.

Louise Hibbert, SHR Group CIO, said people who use streaming services on a daily basis , such as Netflix and Spotify, are already being affected by AI without even realizing it.

“It's subconscious, not intrusive, and they serve content I like based on who I am and where. So AI allows us to move away from standard, generic content and into the era of personalization,” she said.

And while there are concerns about AI replacing humans, the panelists made it clear that people play an important role in the hospitality industry.

“Hospitality will always be about people,” said Amy Branford, UK sales manager at Guest Revu.

"It's about using it correctly and understanding how you can use it to improve the experience," she said.

This includes using it to sell experiences to guests and analyze data on the subject of trends or ideas for decision making.

“AI will improve the quality of roles. If you don't do repetitive, routine tasks, you'll enjoy your job more. AI is not taking away jobs; it automates tasks, and a job is more than just one task,” Hibbert said, adding that in the hotel industry there are many repetitive, routine tasks that, if automated, can free up people to do other tasks.


AI will improve workload

José Soares, chief information officer of The Capital, said that when discussing technology, there is a tendency for businesses to put There are only big problems ahead. “But in hotels, at the front desk, to concierges, their problems are never brought up for discussion.”

He said implementing a generative artificial intelligence tool like ChatGPT could help solve problems that face people all over business. “So there's a big change at the executive level, and there's a little change at the individual level.”

“So people see that AI isn't actually going to take my job, it's going to improve my job.” workload,” he said.

However, the impact of AI on the world of work cannot be ignored, and it is critical to upskill people to work with AI or take advantage of other opportunities.

In Singapore, Soares said people over 40 are being re-educated to use technologies such as artificial intelligence.

“We should not strive to become obsolete,” he said.

“If people want to sit back and be lazy, that will take their jobs,” Branford said.

Although the move to bring artificial intelligence into business can be seen as significant investment that will make a big difference, experts advised against going all-in right away.

Soares said an important first step is to identify the problems in the business and then ask: “Should I use AI to solve them?”

“Make it small, but make it bigger in smart steps,” he said.

Because AI essentially works by using algorithms for data analysis, data quality and privacy issues are also key.

“Our ethical framework must be transparent. We need to tell people what data we collect, why and what it will be used for,” Hibbert said.

Soares said that in the absence of rules, policies and legislation, ethics has been an important topic of conversation.

“We have an ethical responsibility to use this thing correctly. We ruined everything using social media,” he said.


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