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AI has been on the rise and is these days a hot topic in all industries, not the least within hospitality and the world of hotelling. What are some ways AI can help you as a hotelier in your daily operations? Is AI just a hype or something to considering for integration into your business? What does the future look like in the world of hotelling AI? How can AI help you manage the online reputation of your hotel? 

These are some of the questions that we will explore in the article below, as informed by travel news outlets, current research, and some of BookVisit’s own expert insights. Continue reading to get an updated view on AI within the hotel industry! 

Setting the stage for AI in the hotel industry in 2024

Rapidly evolving technology and increasing competition in the hotel booking landscape is pushing hotels to find ways to use technology and new AI tools – to automate certain tasks, improve efficiency, streamline processes and improve the user experience.

In fact, research from McKinsey Global Institute has ranked travel as the number one industry for creating the most significant value from AI:

In the travel industry, hotels especially have a lot of potential since operations are complex and the fact that there is a large amount of data one could work with using AI. According to the International Data Corporation, 60% of hotels and 70% of travel agencies plan to start using AI the coming years.

“We cannot ignore AI, as its effect will be transformative. Perhaps some people overestimate its short-term impact, but there are probably many who underestimate its long-term effect“

Charuta Fadnis, Senior Vice President, Research and Product Strategy, Phocuswright

At the recently held ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) conference in Berlin, Charuta Fadnis, shared her insights into the global travel ecosystem and more specifically on the current role of AI in travelling. She emphasized how AI is fundamentally changing the travel industry and how we cannot ignore it’s impact. Fadnis also shared her insight on how companies that use AI in their online business experience increased sales. A use case of this was shared about TripAdvisor, who used a voice AI for customer interactions. This AI let users give voice commands, simplifying and speeding up their experience. Within three months, TripAdvisor saw a big increase in business. Customers using the voice AI were bringing in three times more money than those who didn’t use it.

Another voice within the industry also emphasized the effect and opportunity of AI in the traveling industry: 

“The opportunity with AI is in augmenting and embedding new insights into existing processes. It’s about supporting your people by automating tasks in their jobs that aren’t value-added so that they can focus on what they can do best”

Philip Rothaus, Managing Director at A&M (and former Global Travel AI Lead for Accenture)

So, with that it shows that although that AI is a hype, it’s an opportunity and trend wave that is worth taking into consideration for business owners within the industry.

Some ways hotels can leverage AI

To better understand and meet today’s travellers’ needs 

AI can assist hotels in understanding customer insights and behaviors. For example, if a customer frequently browses golf pages on a hotel’s website, the website should tailor its offerings to feature its golf packages rather than its spa offerings. The industry has historically struggled to leverage such data efficiently. 

AI-driven marketing on platforms like Meta and Google can help optimize advertising reach by targeting specific audiences and creating look-alike audiences to attract similar potential guests. This strategy has thanks to AI become smarter, faster, and more accessible for hotels of all sizes. Source

Manage your hotel’s online reputation more efficiently

Managing your hotel’s online reputation can, as you know, be both time-consuming and overwhelming. And with over 80% of travelers checking reviews before making a reservation, and 77% being more inclined to book when hoteliers respond to reviews, it becomes a crucial step in hotel management.  

One of the smartest ways hotels can leverage AI is by analyzing their reputation, reviews and feedback to identify key themes. This data can provide actionable insights for hotels to take informed decisions.

One example of an AI-powered service is the reputation management tool provided by BookVisit. The tool uses an advanced detection to gather external reviews and mentions about your hotel on a range of platforms, and then streamlines it into one platform. This AI reputation management tool saves hotels both a lot of time and labor cost, so that you quickly can detect areas of improvements, to ensure guest satisfaction. 

Create AI-powered personalized content that drives direct conversions 

An example of an AI tool that can you help you create personalized content is The Hotel’s Network new AI Assistant, that is designed to boost results and productivity. By prompting the tool, which is powered by ChatGPT, it can help you generate content for your hotel’s website in just a few seconds. 

What does the future look like for hospitality AI?

As AI continues to be developed each day, we, together with voices in the industry, predict that, although many stand-alone tools exist out there, AI will most likely be implemented into software that you are already using.  

Jessica Kramer, CEO of Lodgistics, highlighted in a recent podcast hosted by Hotels Magazine that AI is likely already present in many of the software platforms used by hotels. Rather than being a separate layer, AI is expected to become an integrated part of the tools already being used.

“AI already exists in a lot of the software platforms hotels are using. AI won’t be its own layer – it will be part of the tools we’re using.”

Jessica Kramer, CEO of Lodgistics

Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of Skift, emphasized that while AI will bring about changes in back-end processes across various sectors, its impact on front-end operations may not be as profound.

Rob Paterson, former Best Western UK CEO and hospitality entrepreneur, echoed this sentiment, suggesting that AI is more likely to enhance existing platforms rather than fully replacing them.  

At the ITB Berlin Convention, Charuta Fadnis, senior vice president of Phocuswright, discussed the growing importance of generative AI and its role in personalized travel experiences, indicating this to be a significant future trend in the industry. 

When the Executive Vice President at Visit Group, Carl-Johan Holmén, was asked about the future of AI, he shared several insights on the topic. He predicts that the way guests receive information about potential trips and stays will change significantly. Instead of actively having to search for information online, Carl-Johan believes that it will be presented seamlessly to guests. Although voice assistants such as Siri currently offer some support in this area, he anticipates that the presentation of information will become more advanced. For example, perhaps a trip search query could result in your device delivering a comprehensive video that summarizes reviews and showcases footage from the destination, complete with a suggested itinerary. 

"In the future, information about your trip will find you, making planning as easy as thinking about where you want to go. AI will be like a helpful friend who knows exactly what you're looking for."

Carl-Johan Holmén, Executive Vice President, Visit Group

The Human Touch in an AI-Driven World 

In today’s everchanging hospitality tech industry, AI is for sure stirring things up. However, although we at BookVisit, believe in the power of AI, we also want to emphasize that we believe in the power of the people behind the AI. While AI can be helpful, nothing beats the care and guidance that a support team can provide. They’re there to listen, help, and make sure every customer feels valued. At BookVisit, we’re always improving our software to keep up with the changes and demand, while our human support is there to guide along the way. With us, you’ll get personalized help, smooth operations, and more revenue. So, even in a world of AI, we’re committed to guide our clients so that they in turn can provide their guests with the best possible guest journey.

Concluding words 

As AI continues to disrupt the hospitality industry, embracing these new technologies can not only improve operational efficiency but also enhance the overall guest experience. With a forward-looking approach, hotels can leverage AI to stay competitive in an increasingly digitalized world. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that AI should enhance, not fully replace, the human factor that ultimately defines hospitality. So, hotels that can find the right balance between human touch and AI, we believe, face a bright future.  

Ready to transform your hotel experience? Book a consultation with us to discover the potential for innovation, AI, and growth.

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