Expedia: Personalisation is necessary for hotels
published : 12 Feb 2019 at 04:00
newspaper section: Business
Personalisation is the hot trend in travel as both travellers and service providers adopt advanced technology for a more personalised experience, says travel booking site Expedia.
The company said personalised services are necessary in the digital age to create a good experience for customers. Moreover, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) play an important role in changes in the service industry.
Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, director for market management of Expedia Group, said personalisation helps hotels improve service based on individual feedback, which benefits travellers.
Personalisation also provides more in-depth information, which enables travel service providers to simultaneously increase bookings and revenue.
"AI and ML are used to communicate with guests, such as using chatbots for room service. For the hotel, these technologies have completely changed how things work and helped reduce various obstacles, making hotel operations more efficient," Ms Pimpawee said.
She said recommendations from bots about specific information hotels can use to improve their ratings.
"Hotels can also receive more feedback on how to get more positive reviews," said Ms Pimpawee.
"For instance, a bot can tell the hotel operator breakfast at your hotel has been rated less than three stars. Guests often comment the hotel does not have a healthy menu or hot coffee. If the hotel improves the quality of coffee and adds a healthy breakfast menu, guests will give an average of four stars."
Hotels also receive information on how to enhance business operations.
"For instance, bots might say 'Hello, Khun Jindarat, did you know next month there is high demand for rooms and all of the competitors' accommodations have raised the price by an average of 30%? It is recommended you adjust the price as well,'" she said.
"Similarly, with Google assistance, the hotel will be advised to choose the gender and physical characteristics of the 'concierge' to provide the most friendly and comfortable experience for guests."
According to the executive, as travellers today want to feel important, creating an individual experience through "hyper-personalisation" will influence the development of technology in the travel industry.
Ms Pimpawee said hotels provide tablets that let guests order food and beverages, request housekeeping or maintenance, and access to streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. Even more personalisation is on the horizon such as in-room entertainment systems that will play guest's favourite Spotify playlists and video calls that will pop up seamlessly on the in-room TV.
"While using technology can enhance efficiency for hotels, the most successful hotels will be those that can use these technologies to improve management and provide an impressive experience beyond the expectations of guests, coupled with attentiveness and human touch, because ultimately, travel is shaped by a desire to interact with, learn about and understand other cultures and people," she said.