by Robert Holland, BHA Chief Technology Adviser
I have read recently that there has been greater penetration of smart phones in the last ten years since the launch of the iPhone than was achieved in the first 100 years of telephones.
With the pace of technology ever accelerating, I would like to explore some of the new tools available to the hospitality industry and ask whether they are here to stay.
In my first contribution to the BHA blog, I would like to review an article that was published earlier this month exploring the use of Artificial Intelligence on hotel booking engines.
Avvio has this month launched Allora, claimed to be the world’s first booking engine to be powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Rather than a one size fits all approach, it learns from every guest interaction in order to tailor the visitor experience towards a more personalised service to drive better conversion and greater guest loyalty. With so much data available, hotels sit on large amounts of information that they do not have the manpower to crunch. Allora does this for them, whilst building on intelligence from Avvio’s large network of hotels and accommodation providers across Europe and North America. This means that each property can learn from similar properties to improve their performance much more quickly than if they were to have to rely on their data alone.
Frank Reeves, Co-founder and CEO of Avvio, told me, “Hotels can benefit from Networked Intelligence. With bigger data you unearth better patterns quicker, and rapid feedback leads to greater innovation. It enables each hotel to build on insights from across our network and drive precision with their own data. This boosts direct bookings and delivers a more personalised online service that reflects the exquisite experience that hotel staff give to in-house guests.”
If, as hoteliers, we were to meet all of the potential customers that wanted to book our hotel, I am sure that we could quickly ascertain what they were looking for and whether our property would suit their requirements. It is a lot more difficult to do this when the first experience that a potential guest has is through our website, if indeed we are lucky enough that they have found their way there and not gotten distracted by one of the many disrupters. If at this point of contact we are not showing our best photography or offering our most attractive packages but instead relying on outdated imagery and a poorly constructed website, we are putting ourselves at a distinct disadvantage. If Allora offers us the opportunity to have met the potential guest in advance of their arrival to our website and understand what they are looking for in order to offer them an experience that would be better tailored to their expectations, be it showing them our spa or telling them about a recent accolade for our restaurant then I for one would welcome this level of personalisation in order to provide a high level of hospitality from the start of their journey.