NAVIGATING THE COMPLEX WORLD OF CONVERSATIONAL AI – PART 1

Questions Every Hotelier Should Ask When Considering Guest-Led Conversational AI

By John Smallwood, President of Travel Outlook
June 2024

In the rapidly evolving hospitality industry, integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become crucial for hoteliers looking to enhance guest experiences and stay ahead of the competition. As AI technology continues to develop, hoteliers need to ask the right questions to ensure they select the best guest-led conversational AI solutions for their needs.

Not all conversational AI solutions are created equally, and what works for one industry may not be effective in hospitality. In this series, we delve into the critical features of guest-led conversational AI-powered solutions to determine how best to assess AI’s viability in the hospitality industry.

Does AI Provide the Level of Service Expected in the Hospitality Industry?

One of the primary concerns for hoteliers is whether conversational AI can deliver a personable and engaging experience that aligns with their brand. In the hotel world, guests expect a high level of service, and AI must meet these expectations to be a viable solution.

Consumers often view conversational AI as a frustrating intermediary step that’s a necessary evil that must be endured to talk to a human representative. If AI can provide a warm, human-like interaction, that may not be the case. This human-like interaction is crucial in maintaining the high standards of hospitality that guests expect.

Can Hotels Personalize Conversational AI?

Personalization is a significant advantage of modern guest-led conversational AI solutions. Hoteliers should ask if the AI platform they are considering allows for customizations, specifically if they’re able to adapt their own voice talking to their AI solution. For example, a hotel in Hawaii could utilize local Hawaiian voice talent for their voice channel. Using specific voice talents that reflect the hotel’s location and culture is invaluable.

Additionally, personalized conversational AI can incorporate local knowledge and recommendations into conversations. For example, guests inquiring about dining options could receive suggestions for local cuisine or popular restaurants nearby, enhancing their overall travel experience. This local touch can turn a standard AI interaction into a more enriching and informative exchange that leaves guests feeling more connected to the destination, not frustrated with a run-of-the-mill call bot.

Can Conversational AI Understand and Speak Multiple Languages?

In the global hospitality market, communicating effectively with guests from all over the world is paramount. AI solutions should be capable of understanding and responding in multiple languages to cater to a diverse clientele. This feature is not just about basic translation; it involves understanding regional dialects, conversational tones, and slang.

Beyond just language translation, guest-led AI capabilities should include cultural sensitivity. This means the conversational solution can understand and respect cultural nuances and etiquette, providing a more respectful and considerate interaction. For instance, specific phrases or gestures may have different connotations in different cultures, and the AI should be programmed to navigate these nuances carefully.

The Ultimate Conversational AI Solution for Hospitality

As hoteliers navigate the complex and sometimes ever-changing world of artificial intelligence, focusing on solutions that enhance guest experiences and operational efficiency is essential. Hoteliers shouldn’t just seek conversational AI solutions that only allow them to streamline internal processes but should strive to find solutions that enhance the guest’s experience. By asking the right questions about warmth, personalization, and multilingual capabilities, hoteliers can ensure they select AI tools that align with their brand values and meet their guests’ needs.

Instantly address hiring and staffing challenges with Annette, the hospitality industry’s first hotel AI-powered virtual agent.

Travel Outlook’s Annette represents the next generation of guest-led assistance in hospitality, offering a blend of advanced technology and human-like interaction. Annette is designed to provide a warm, friendly voice that resonates with guests, offering an engaging and personalized experience. With the ability to use customized voice talent and speak and understand multiple languages, Annette allows guests to feel connected and at home.

By integrating sophisticated AI solutions, hotels can address staffing challenges, enhance customer service, and create memorable guest experiences that stand out in a competitive market. Conversational AI is not just a tool for handling routine tasks but a strategic asset that can transform how hotels operate and engage with guests. As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, those who embrace AI innovations like Annette will be well-positioned to lead the way in providing exceptional guest experiences.

For more information on how AI can transform your hotel’s operations, visit Travel Outlook’s Annette and explore how Annette can become an invaluable asset to your team.

Looking for ways to address hiring and staffing challenges and control front desk labor expenses?

 Learn more about Annette™, the first AI-powered, virtual agent dedicated to hotel guest service.

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John Smallwood, President
John Smallwood, President

About John Smallwood, President of Travel Outlook | A veteran in the hospitality industry, John has owned, developed, and managed hotels for many years. After earning a BBA from New Mexico State University, he started his career with AT&T, gaining invaluable insight and experience in the early years of the data revolution. His experience in technology and hospitality merged in his development of Travel Outlook, the world-class hospitality contact center. More recently, he has branched out with the creation of ExpressRez, the premier contact center for the Bed and Breakfast industry, and with the creation of Annette (formerly “Bella” by Travel Outlook), the first AI-powered voice bot for the hotel industry.

About Travel Outlook, the premier hotel call center™ | Travel Outlook is an innovative, custom off-site central reservations office (CRO) service that serves as either a primary or overflow reservations department for hotels. Travel Outlook utilizes industry-leading talent combined with hospitality-specific AI-powered technology (Annette, The Virtual Hotel Agent) to enhance customers’ voice channels and increase conversion rates. Given its progressive approach to the voice channel – in terms of performance, training, transparency, testing and the tools used to measure performance – Travel Outlook, the premier hotel call center™ is the leading voice reservations team in hospitality. Travel Outlook’s valued client list includes Viceroy Hotel Group, Curator Hotels and Resorts, Outrigger, KSL Resorts, Proper Hospitality Group, Atlantis, The Irvine Company, Sage Hospitality, Noble House Hotels, HEI Hotels, Pyramid Global, and many others. Travel Outlook’s team and approach increases sales conversion and helps to create more effective voice communication between hotels and their guests, resulting in improved social scores in addition to increased voice channel revenue. https://traveloutlook.com/

About Annette, The Virtual Hotel Agent™ | Annette is a guest-led conversational AI assistant designed specifically for the hospitality industry. Annette has been programmed using a breakthrough approach to conversational AI, using natural language understanding software built from human conversations. Using social media, chat forums, and movie dialogue, Annette learns from billions of casual human conversations to understand human inflections and multi-turn queries. This revolutionary approach means Annette understands callers no matter what they say, when they say it, or how they speak. Annette can answer FAQs specific to your property, understand multiple languages, route calls, send follow up texts, and more. For more information, visit https://traveloutlook.com/annette/