AI In Hospitality: What Does theFuture Hold?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm. Whether we like it or not, AI is now part and parcel of our everyday lives. Everything from mobile apps and home appliances to vehicles is getting a “smart” makeover. It’s no wonder the UK’s AI economy is worth £1.36 trillion.
AI has found its way into just about every economic sector. The ever-innovative hospitality industry is certainly not missing out on the AI trend. Intelligent technologies present exciting opportunities for hotels, pubs, eateries, inns, and B&Bs across the country.
Let’s look at the exciting ways AI is revolutionising and reshaping the future of the hospitality industry.
Highly Personalised Customer Experiences
“Experience” is arguably the most valuable commodity in the hospitality business. Personalisation is the best way to sell unforgettable experiences in any service industry, more so in hotels, restaurants, pubs, etc.
However, personalisation can be prohibitively expensive, tedious, and time-consuming. That’s where AI comes in. AI-powered systems can analyse guest journeys, preferences, and spending power to develop curated services tailored at the individual level.
Bespoke hospitality services range from customising room amenities and recommending local attractions to designing meal plans based on each guest’s preferences. It’s all about presenting something the guest is guaranteed to want.
The future of hospitality services delivery seems to lean heavily toward AI-formulated customer experiences.
A robot could prepare your meal or pour you a pint the next time you’re in a restaurant or pub. That sounds like something straight out of a 90s sci-fi movie, but robot chefs and bartenders are very much with us.
Moley Robotics recently unveiled what they say is the world’s first AI-powered robot capable of cooking in both commercial and residential kitchens. Thinking along the same lines, the University of Cambridge is developing a robot chef that learns and replicates meal recipes just from watching food videos.
And at Sandbox VR (Birmingham and London), a robotic bartender will serve you drinks. Nicknamed Toni, the UK’s first robotic bartender can pour 80 different drinks every hour, serving thirsty guests their favourite beers, wines, and soft drinks.
Robot chefs and bartenders may seem like nerdy gimmicks, but they could be game-changers in the food and hospitality industry. AI can save valuable time and ingredients in commercial kitchens while minimising costly human errors. For example, Chipotle Mexican Grill, which runs 17 locations in the UK, is already toying with the idea of an AI kitchen assistant called “Chippy” to optimise the preparation of Chipotle’s signature tortilla chips.
AI is the heart of automation. Using intelligent automated systems allows facility managers to streamline various operations, making for faster and more efficient service delivery. Additionally, automation cuts costs, and the savings can be passed down to the customer, making hospitality services more affordable and accessible.
Here are some key areas where AI enhances hospitality operations:
Automated room assignment and management
Contactless booking, check-in, and check-out processes
Financial management, planning, and forecasting
Housekeeping and room services
Logistical planning and resource optimisation
Smart building systems
Virtual assistant such as chatbots and digital concierge
The Future is Bright for AI In Hospitality
An article published by Hotel Technology News points out that embracing AI technology in the hospitality industry is not just a matter of being competitive but staying in business. That clearly captures the role and importance of AI in hospitality.
As of January 2022, the AI adoption rate in the hospitality industry was only 11.9%—one of the lowest in the UK and yet still pretty disruptive. Big players such as the Edwardian Hotels London and the Hilton are setting high bars for what it means to embrace AI. This AI adoption trend will only grow as more and more hospitality businesses take up AI technologies. In fact, contactless, automated services are quickly becoming the norm in many UK pubs, venues, restaurants, and hotels.
And if market analysis is any indication, the hospitality industry is poised to register an 11.87% CAGR between 2023 and 2030.
But it’s all good news. AI improves hospitality services in many different ways, some of which would otherwise be impossible. And better services is a win for the business and a win for the guest as well.