In the fast-paced world of the hospitality industry, staying competitive is no small feat. The constant quest for innovation and differentiation has led many to look toward new technologies to give them an edge. However, the limited-service sector of the hospitality industry in the United States is still largely composed of owner-operators who are cautious about investing in technology. This article will explore the need for an AI-roll out action plan in the hospitality industry, specifically in the limited-service space, and how it can be achieved with the help of robotics.
The Current State of Technology in Hospitality
In the limited-service hospitality sector, hotel owners often adopt a penny-pinching mindset. For many of these owner-operators, their hotel is the most significant asset they’ve ever acquired. They meticulously scrutinize every expense to ensure it directly contributes to the bottom-line cash flow. As a result, their attention to technology is typically limited to fundamental aspects such as accounting, property management systems (PMS), and credit card processing. Often, brand standards dictate the specific systems and technologies that must be used, leaving little room for owner-operators to explore new and innovative technologies.
The Need for AI Integration
To remain competitive and employ a differentiation strategy in the drive-to-leisure, select-service hotel industry, it’s imperative for limited-service hotels to incorporate AI into their business models. While major brands like Hilton, Marriott, and IHG have not universally embraced AI and other technological innovations, the need for a first step is evident. The recommendation is to start by introducing AI technology in one hotel location as a beta test. This approach allows for a better understanding of how to train staff, management, and ownership in the AI program roll-out.
The beta test also provides valuable data on the program’s impact, including its revenue generation, potential reduction in operating expenses, occupancy levels, and guest satisfaction.
Overcoming Technical Challenges with Third-Party AI Services
A significant hurdle in adopting AI technology for many limited-service hotels is a lack of technical staffing, hardware, and software. To address these challenges and manage the AI program, it’s advisable to partner with a third-party AI service provider. This approach allows limited-service hotels to minimize costs in the short term while gaining hands-on experience with AI.
Hi-Jiffy is a specialized AI company that offers AI chatbot software designed explicitly for the hospitality industry. Their subscription-based service allows hotels to evaluate AI compatibility without the commitment of a one-time investment. If the AI doesn’t align with the hotel’s brand standards or interferes with existing systems, it can be easily canceled.
Hi-Jiffy’s Comprehensive AI Program for Hospitality
Hi-Jiffy’s AI program is tailored to hospitality properties and companies, covering various aspects of the guest experience:
Pre-Stay: AI assists with chat-based bookings on the hotel’s website and social media platforms, along with answering frequently asked questions.
In-Stay: Features include digital check-ins, upselling and advertising services, providing information about the local area, automating guest requests, and allowing employees to respond to guest queries via SMS, email, or WhatsApp.
Departure: The AI program streamlines check-out services, offers transportation information, and facilitates guest satisfaction surveys and reviews.
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Executing the AI-Roll Out Strategy
By partnering with Hi-Jiffy for the beta test, limited-service hotels can access a fully implemented AI program without the need for extensive IT investments. The organization can establish an evaluation and roll-out team to work closely with Hi-Jiffy throughout the beta test. This approach allows for the creation of specific benchmarks to measure the success or failure of the AI program.
Assuming the beta test proves successful, the AI program can be rolled out system-wide, following the lessons learned and insights gained during the trial period.
In the hospitality industry, innovation is crucial for staying competitive. AI technology, when properly integrated, can offer a substantial edge. For limited-service hotels, taking the first step in AI adoption through a well-planned beta test can pave the way for future success. Partnering with third-party providers like Hi-Jiffy can simplify the process and ensure that hotels stay ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of the hospitality industry.
By embracing AI and robotics, limited-service hotels can enhance guest experiences, streamline operations, and secure their position in a highly competitive market.
David G. Wallace’s website is the source for more information and insights on AI integration in the hospitality industry.