Predictions about the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are increasingly closer to reality, especially with regard to the experience of guests during their stay and the automation of reservation processes during the trip.
This trend is increasingly strong in the sector and, for this reason, SiteMinder, the market’s leading platform for technology solutions for the hotel sector, exposes different examples of the advantages and challenges offered by the automation of services in a hotel.
“Currently, several hoteliers have already implemented the use of robots in their properties, more as an innovation strategy than as a commercial strategy, since the technology they use to manage their accommodations, such as that offered by SiteMinder, is sufficient to cause significant impact, and positive, in the way hotels offer customer service and the experience that guests get during their stay or during the reservation process of their rooms, “says Rocío Herraiz, Director of Communications of Latin America at SiteMinder
Pros and cons of implementing AI and robots in hotels.
In a hotel operated by robots, efficiency and productivity could reach a historic maximum when implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI). The technology can work all day, every day, without suffering exhaustion, it is a service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To this is added the ‘surprise’ factor, since the use of robots can be a great novelty for the guests that generates enthusiasm and publicity, especially for those hotels that seek to build a brand image that is different, innovative and, in certain way, futuristic.
Androids can help to create a healthier environment in terms of guest service, which means that by taking care of the manual and routine tasks of running the hotel, the accommodation staff can focus on the traveler’s experience. .
According to SiteMinder, the technology could offer a diversified booking method, an improved experience prior to the arrival of the guest, more interaction of the travelers on the hotel’s website, as well as greater data collection that favors when offering a better customer service.
In addition to that, there are areas where AI could be used exclusively. A clear example is the services of check-in and reception, given that these tasks are routine and the number of possible consultations makes the service may have certain limitations. Therefore, this type of position would be perfect for an android to start his career successfully.
The future of the valet can also be in the AI. Vehicles with smart technology could make valet services irrelevant or, at least, an easy position to be carried out by a robot allowing the current valet to take care of tasks more focused on the guest.
However, technical failures can also arise, so it is possible that guests receive incorrect or misleading information, which would cause errors and generate negative experiences. Security could also be a concern in the event that systems could be pirated by data or even controlled by foreign entities.
The ease of accessing this technology has been increasing, but it is still too expensive and complex to become a priority investment for a company.
“Some applications could put at risk certain types of jobs for employees in the tourism sector. However, it also offers several specialization options for hotel professionals who can be beneficiaries not only for the hotel but also for the guests. We speak, mainly, of the traveler’s experience and personalization, “says Rocío Herraiz.
The ‘emotional’ part can be, in some cases, a positive factor. For the services of the rooms there would be no need to have unnecessary conversations or delays. A guest could make his order directly to a robot and this would complete the task as efficiently as possible without the need for controversy or dispute since a robot will not be nervous or frustrated with any request. However, both the human side of the hotel and customer service are essential for the operation of a hotel and neither can be replaced by machines. As indicated by the study published by SiteMinder earlier this year, hoteliers hope that the future combines technology with people’s work to create a pleasant but authentic experience.
And for the administration of property and security would be the best solution because, when we talk about a robot, being a machine that performs the work of organization, previously scheduled, is able to optimize the way a hotel deploys its staff during periods of higher or lower workload, in addition to saving on energy by automatically turning off lights and appliances if necessary. The robots can also help by monitoring the facilities to achieve scrupulous security and report any mishap.
Is the use of robots in the tourism sector really growing? “The answer is yes,” explains Rocío Herraiz, “and this added factor is already changing, and improving, the service offered to the client. For the hotel industry, this type of technology plays an important role, especially when we think about the future of companies and how innovation can help improve their performance, efficiency and productivity. This does not mean that travelers will think of a bot that acts as a bellboy or a receptionist, at least not in the short term, but it is true that new trends and technological projects are becoming more important and will be those that, in the long term, make a difference to succeed. “