(by Louis Toffoli)
It’s no secret that artificial intelligence will be a part of the future for almost every industry in these next coming years. In the hospitality industry, the change to automated technology has been one of the fastest, with AI technology already being introduced in large hotel chains in recent years.
From self-serve kiosks for a smooth check-in to robots that transport your luggage—it’s safe to say that robots will become an integral part of the hospitality industry. But, what about positions like a concierge that relies heavily on excellent communication skills, connecting with the guests, and having the ability to provide a personalized recommendation?
To help you get a grasp on this fast-changing industry, let’s look from a customer’s point of view to decide if robot concierges create an image of luxury or it’s seen as stingy to replace human concierges with robots.
What a Robot Concierge Says About Your Business
Your image is everything in the hospitality industry, and this makes introducing robot technology a tough choice to make for your business. Currently, you need to be very careful with how you use artificial intelligence to maintain the positive image you want for your business. As we can learn from the robot hotel in Japan, robots alone aren’t the best choice for customer service.
We are in the beginning stages of artificial intelligence’s potential, and with this relatively new technology—slow implementation should be your ideal strategy. Whenever technology is introduced into the market, it goes through growing pains as people learn to become accustomed to the new normal.
This fear heightens with the sight of an actual physical robot answering a guest’s questions and inquiries. With decades of dystopian Hollywood movies about robots, utilizing these technologies has not been easy for business owners. Many people have started to associate robots with unwanted changes and an unpredictable future.
With discussions about AI replacing millions of jobs, people have become uncomfortable seeing a robot replacing a traditionally human job. It casts a negative image that the owner is stingy and looking to cut costs—costing someone their livelihood in the process.
The Current State of AI-Powered Concierges
The most vital part of any hospitality business is the overall customer experience. Does the customer see an AI-powered concierge as merely an unnecessary novelty item or is it a useful futuristic method that provides the best service possible?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at what is currently available in the world of hotel concierges powered by artificial intelligence. No better example of this is Hilton’s Connie robot concierge, first introduced in 2016 at their McLean, Virginia location.
Standing at only 2ft tall, this small robot concierge greets guests and answers common questions that a concierge will receive daily from new guests. In its current state, this robot concierge is there primarily for its surprise-factor and has not made any large impacts on a human concierge’s fate.
However, as technology inevitably continues to progress—will robot concierges be the better choice in the future?
A Luxury Concierge Alternative
In its current state, a robot concierge is not the best choice for retaining your image.
But what if I told you there is a way to include artificial intelligence into your hotel or resort and still maintain an image of luxury? The secret lies online, using an AI-powered online chatbot feature available to all of your guests.
An online chatbot concierge will lessen the shock on your visitors of a full-fledged robot talking to them while still utilizing hands-free technology to perform a concierge task, like making reservations to a local restaurant your guests will love.
Robots and artificial intelligence are here to stay as part of the modern luxury hotel experience. However, I don’t think we are quite there yet when it comes to replacing a position like a concierge that focuses on customer service and attending to guest’s personal preferences.
We are in artificial intelligence’s infancy in the hospitality industry, with human concierges still being the best option for providing your guests with the greatest experience.