Gazing into the crystal ball – Part 2: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) + MACHINE LEARNING

Where will we be in five years’ time ?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) + Machine Learning

Floor BleekerFloor Bleeker – Chief Information Officer, Mövenpick Group

“At Mövenpick we are currently testing speech recognition technology to enhance the in-room guest experience. We want to keep it simple to start with. One of the first features we will test with customers, is the replacement of the in- room phone by a voice operated device such as Amazon Echo. On the one hand this will reduce the investment cost to us, while providing our guests with a new cool experience at the same time. There is still a long way to go and platforms like these are a pre-requisite to benefit from real AI or machine learning.”

Chris ChanChristopher Chan – General Manager, Research & Technology, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, The Peninsula Hotels

“This will be in parallel with IoT. AI and Machine learning will enable us to give guests suggestions or even learn about their behaviours and adjust their environment to their liking – such as knowing what temperature they prefer for a room, including algorithms that take into account what the outside temperature is. For example, some people like a room to be very warm when it’s cold outside, and very cool when it’s hot. AI is going to be especially important with such things as voice commands – and giving people information immediately when guests ask for it.”

Hansen ScottC. Scott Hansen – Director, Guest Technology, Marriott International

“This is an area I am interested in but have done very little research in as it relates to hospitality. Ultimately, the value here would be in predictability. How can I take all the data I know about a guest and predict how best to serve that guest based on past collected information? If we can get our systems to begin to recognize patterns – I think we can create programs and offerings that better meet our guest’s expectations. Marketing engines already do this to some degree on-line. Perhaps it will go along with the robotics – face recognition from past stays or Facebook/ LinkedIn profiles and real time, proactive customizations of service based on your tastes and need can be created.”

Christian LundénChristian Lundén – Director of Future Business, Nordic Choice Hotels

“We have finally found a smarter way to do things. The bots and AI solutions we had back in 2017 are gone, and we can now start to see the benefits in a bigger scale. Voice is the most commonly used UI in these services and we do not need to text everything we need to ask.”

Monika NergerMonika Nerger – Global Chief Information Officer, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

“Our industry has already adapted to smart door locks and thermostats which are integrated with guest preferences, but this is just the beginning of IoT. We are on the cusp of fully understanding the potential of voice communication in the guest room. While there are a few early adopters of Amazon’s Alexa, I believe that this technology will morph into avatars, with a human ‘face’ developed for Siri, Alexa, Cortana and other voice technologies, which will control connected devices in the hotel room and beyond. The guest room avatar will equip guests with the means to control and enjoy their hotel experience in ways that go beyond voice commands to request extra towels or order room service.”

Josh WeissJosh Weiss – VP – Brand & Guest Technology, Hilton Worldwide

“Hilton is focused on harnessing the power of speech recognition and cognitive learning to enable us to deliver even better and more customized guest experiences. If a guest asks, “What vegetarian meals are on the menu?”, this requires not only a voice interface, which you could do simply with an app, but also necessitates the ability to understand what the guest wants, and the ability to give an intelligent response, listing the options that are available now, with prices. Language translation assistance for our global guests is another example of how speech recognition can help us become even more hospitable. There’s a whole realm of service delivery that we can make more elegant by leveraging artificial intelligence. We are already leveraging AI with interactive chat features on our website and mobile apps. As it gets more intelligent and predictive, an increasing number of clients will use it, and it will be an integral part of improving the guest experience.”