Latest Technologies Expected to Enhance Customer Service & Experience
Submitted By Barb Miller
Freelance Content Writer & Marketing Consultant
January 2018

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2018 was held last week in Las Vegas.  This is an annual event where companies show off their latest innovations and we get a glimpse into the breakthroughs being made in technology.

This year, AI and robot innovations for the hotel industry stole the spotlight and were posted on and reported by various media outlets including NBC’s Nightly News.  Reports stated that besides the current robots operating in the hotel industry, there’s a number of new robots possibly entering the market in 2018. Most notable robots include hotel’s first autonomous robot dedicated to room service with the ability to operate elevators and a porter robot that can handle check-in and check-out services and carry luggage to rooms.

The impact of artificially intelligent machines on the future hotel and hospitality job markets has been gaining significant attention.  Many articles written state that humans will be replaced by robots at all job levels. However, according to a recent study by McKinsey & Company (https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/digital-disruption/harnessing-automation-for-a-future-that-works), people will need to continue working alongside machines to produce the growth in per capita GDP to which countries around the world aspire. In addition, any workers displaced by automation will require training to find other employment, even new types of work not yet foreseen. In other words, robots could create jobs rather than take them. Furthermore, when it comes to select and 5-star hotels, the human touch can never be replaced by a machine and for that reason, they will almost certainly be one of partial automation.

 

So what benefits do AI and robots bring to the hotel and hospitality industry?

 

         Offer Greater Customer Experience. The foundation of a good hotel experience is the attention to detail and service that a guest enjoys during their stay. Believe it or not, robots and AI can actually help a hotel to provide more personalized services. For example, the recall of a guest’s names via their facial and speech recognition software, a speedy check-in process, and concierge services personalized for each guest.  The need to create a greater customer experience has even sparked a new C-level title in the industry, Chief Customer Experience Officer.

         Collect Critical Data.  As robots perform tasks, they generate and collect all kinds of interesting data about customer satisfaction, purchase patterns, and other behaviors. Robot generated data on how to improve business processes and ROI is invaluable.

         Attract Millennials.  Every year the traveler pool is flooded with millions of new consumers with rising disposable incomes.  Millennials represent such a pool and are expected to account for 50% of all travelers by 2025. Since the Millennials are early adopters of technology, hotels need to please these tech-savvy travelers and make sure their automation offerings, including robots and new hotel apps, are user friendly and up-to-date.

         Reduce Employee Turnover. Staff turnover of lower-skilled employees is a major issue for hotels. They pay big money each year to hire and train employees only to have them leave. Adding robots to hotels can help solve some of the high turnover issues and decrease associated costs.

As AI and robots gain momentum in the hotel and hospitality industry, what type of job candidates and titles will Hiring Managers and Recruiters be on the lookout for?  Chief Technology Officers and related IT jobs including Systems Analysts and IT Managers, Directors of Engineering, Software Engineers, Sales Managers, and the new title of Chief Customer Experience Officer.

The hotel and hospitality industry, more than any other industry, has its focus constantly turned towards the future looking for the latest and greatest innovations.  The AI and robots showcased at CES 2018 are just the beginning of new technologies that will catapult this industry to a new level of service and customer experience.