AI in Hospitality: Predictions and impact in 2024 and beyond
Artificial intelligence (AI) took the world by storm in 2023 and is poised to shape the hospitality industry in 2024 and beyond.
The impact of AI and machine learning is undeniable, and its introduction into the hospitality sector has already begun to redefine how businesses operate and engage with customers.
But its potential still remains somewhat of a mystery.
So, what does the future of AI in the hospitality sector really look like? How will it change the way the travel industry operates?
To shed some light on this, we sat down with Nadine Boettcher, Head of Product Innovation at Lighthouse, to get her predictions on the potential trajectory of AI in hospitality and how she sees it revolutionizing the sector in the coming years.
1. Personalization in the hospitality industry using AI
Personalization has always been a vital aspect of the guest journey, helping to create unforgettable guest experiences that lead to happy customers and a lasting loyalty. The emergence of generative AI represents a significant turning point in how travelers plan, book, and experience their trips.
Traditionally, travelers have navigated a research-intensive planning phase, involving multiple booking websites, hotel comparisons, and price evaluations before making a reservation.
Soon, though, they may have the ability to effortlessly curate their ideal trip, tailored to their specific needs, all through a simple chat interface, when coupled with necessary automation and seamless connectivity to relevant booking systems.
For hotels, this transformation introduces a new set of content optimization principles. It enables properties to appear in relevant guest searches based on their amenities, location, target audience, and potentially pricing.
Consequently, hotels may find themselves compelled to define their unique selling point and target demographic more clearly.
2. AI and the rise of seamless experiences at every touchpoint
Companies like Air Canada are revolutionizing the travel experience by making queues obsolete. Digital IDs and Biometric Facial Comparison Technology are spearheading the elimination of traditional travel hassles for every journey.
Advancements in new technology could revolutionize hotel experiences, from check-in to consuming and paying for additional services, all without the need for passports, room keys, or manual check-offs on the premises.
Although this technology is still emerging in the hospitality industry, it has immense potential to restore the essence of genuine hospitality in hotels, reducing the frequent need for identity verification and enhancing overall guest satisfaction.
3. AI and operational efficiency in hospitality
The aftermath of the pandemic has left hotels struggling with ongoing labor shortages, with little prospect of staffing levels returning to what they were before 2020 anytime soon.
However, the strategic use of AI offers a viable solution. AI can automate routine tasks, significantly reducing the workload of existing staff.
Solutions, like Pricing Assistant for example, can automate your pricing strategy with AI-powered rate recommendations. This gives employees time back in their day to work on other important tasks, such as providing an exceptional guest experience.
Other key applications include managing guest communications through chatbots, streamlining hotel operations, automating responses to hotel reviews, and crafting compelling content for marketing campaigns.
The rise of AI in hospitality is likely to spawn a new breed of specialists, akin to the digital infrastructure experts who dominated the past decades.
This shift promises to reshape the hospitality landscape, offering unprecedented efficiency at a large scale
4. AI and access to expertise in hospitality
The reality for many hotels today is the lack of resources to employ a full range of specialized experts in every aspect of their operations.
However, with travelers becoming increasingly discerning and less tolerant of subpar experiences, the need for expertise is more critical than ever. AI offers a transformative solution.
AI brings about unique opportunities to those establishments as we will see specialized Generative Pre-Trained Transformers (GPTs) emerge that can be queried for suitable strategies for a specific type of hotel, located in a specific market, with a specific challenge.
If paired with the right data sets, we will see a much more pervasive impact on revenue management strategy than traditional price recommendation algorithms have managed thus far.
5. The rise of the creative hotelier with AI
For years, some areas of the hotel industry have been known for long working hours, monotonous tasks, and more limited career growth potential. However, the rise of AI is changing this narrative. By taking over routine tasks, AI is paving the way for a new era in hospitality.
In this new landscape, hotel staff can also become creative hosts. Their roles can evolve to focus on enriching guest interactions, personalized experiences, strategic collaborations across departments, and taking greater ownership of their areas of responsibility.
As we see AI emerge as an acceptable substitute for a variety of human output, in particular routine tasks, hoteliers have the potential to raise a new generation of creative hosts.
These roles will be more fluid and centered around high-value-add guest interaction, strategic interdepartmental collaboration and a higher degree of ownership of their area of responsibility.
This technological shift holds the potential to not only improve the industry's reputation (especially when trying to entice potential employees) but also to enhance the job satisfaction and career growth of its employees, while also unlocking entirely new dimensions of innovation and guest-centric excellence within the industry.
The rise of AI signifies a pivotal moment in the history of the hospitality industry. We are all now stepping into a realm of almost endless possibilities.
From delivering personalized guest experiences to enhancing operational efficiencies, and spawning a new breed of creative hoteliers, we will likely see AI’s role deepen and broaden and redefine the hospitality landscape in ways that we are only starting to envision.
As you dive headfirst into this technological evolution, it's clear that adaptability, creativity, and a proactive tech stance should be your compass. The question isn't whether AI will redefine hospitality, but how swiftly and imaginatively you can navigate this dynamic shift.
At Lighthouse, our mission is to simplify and enhance the commercial strategies for the hospitality industry. We do this through continuous innovation aimed at making our clients' lives easier. By streamlining data, making it quicker to access and simpler to implement into actionable strategies, our commercial platform empowers hospitality professionals to set prices more accurately, evaluate their performance more efficiently, and gain new insights into the market.