Forward by the team at Go Wine: This interview with John Seaton at Cendyn shows how Customer Relationship Management in 2018, is being impacted by artificial intelligence, globalization travel trends and more. In your opinion, what are the top three trends that hoteliers should be aware of going into 2018? A. The evolving nature of the guest experience and keeping up with guests' needs and expectations is a huge focus for the hospitality industry. For a hotel, managing the customer relationship is one of the most critical elements of gaining and increasing loyalty, and yet can be the most difficult for hotels to master, as customers interact with them via a burgeoning number of contact points: email, mobile, social media, at the front desk and throughout the hotel property. Never before has technology played a more important role in improving what is ultimately the human experience of hospitality, both in terms of curating and providing it, but also in the way that customers express their gratitude for that experience in the form of loyalty. B. Secondly, understanding the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and how that can focus and positively affect the interaction between the guest experience and the hotel.
As the artificial intelligence revolution roars on, many workers wonder whether they will lose their job to a machine. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 400 million to 800 million of today's jobs will be automated by 2030. So what are the human skills that will withstand the test of time and technology? "Empathy," said Hyatt Hotels CEO Mark Hoplamazian at Fortune's Global Forum conference in Guangzhou, China on Friday. "The practice of empathy is critical to our business."
It's that time of the year when Las Vegas gets painted red by thousands of cloud enthusiasts and professionals gathered to attend AWS re:Invent, the mega event hosted by Amazon. With each passing year, AWS re:Invent only becomes bigger and better. This year Amazon is taking over the famous Las Vegas Strip – a stretch of 4.2 miles with many hotels, casinos and pubs - to run multiple technology sessions, tracks and networking events. What was once confined to The Venetian is now spread to almost all the hotels of the strip. The exponential growth of re:Invent is an indication of the ever-growing list of services, features, and of course, the revenue of AWS.
Criminals have long been exploiting online marketplaces for money laundering purposes, and the latest service to reportedly fall prey to fraudsters is Airbnb. According to a Daily Beast report, Russian scammers are leveraging the service to launder dirty cash from stolen credit cards with the help of corrupt hosts. The fraudsters are recruiting for their Airbnb abuses on Russian-language crime forums, with posts seeking everything from collaborators to hacked accounts. After creating or purchasing the Airbnb accounts, the scammers use them to request bookings from colluding hosts, who then send back a cut of the profits despite no one staying at the property, cybersecurity expert Rick Holland told Daily Beast. Legitimate hosts also help the criminals sidestep Airbnb's rules on government ID -- although the company clearly states it cannot be held responsible for the confirmation of any member's identification.
Google Home and the Amazon Echo have new competition. Baidu, which runs China's most popular search engine, has produced the Raven H, a voice-activated speaker that runs on an artificial intelligence platform. The Raven H is the first product in Baidu's upcoming AI plan, following its acquisition in earlier this year of Beijing-based smart home startup, Raven. 'Humans & machines have been interacting w/ one another for years, but raven H aims to create a world in which this interaction is seamless.' If anything, the new speaker's design looks like none of the competition, and appears to be able to flip up to face the user, when activated.
The world's largest hotel chain was an early user of Facebook Messenger and Slack. Now it's adding Google Assistant, WeChat, AI capabilities and more. Marriott International is building on its early use of chatbots to enhance guests' experience through Facebook Messenger and Slack by adding WeChat and Google Assistant as additional channels. The travel and hospitality firm announced in September the ChatBotlr, a chatbot for its Aloft hotel brand that uses artificial intelligence to handle a variety of guest requests via text message. Its existing chatbots, meanwhile, which it developed and manages via tools from New York-based mobile messaging firm Snaps, have provided stay-related customer service to 44% of Marriott Rewards members this year across 4,700 hotels through Facebook Messenger alone.
When people talk about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), they tend to make them sound like technologies of a distant future – smarter and more customized versions of everything we use every day. What they may not realize is that early applications of these technologies are already part of today's reality. This week on STACK That, we sit down with Airbnb, a company that is making great strides in their AI journey in one of the most exciting applications for machine learning -- the travel industry. "Airbnb has been using machine learning in our products for years," says Mike Curtis, VP of Engineering at Airbnb. "…everything from how we recommend prices to our hosts, understanding the value of their space, to how we do search ranking, and that really comes down to matching between our guest and hosts, as well as all the things we do to detect fraud and keep our communities safe."
Airbnb is betting big on automation. The company is currently developing a new AI system that will empower its designers and product engineers to literally take ideas from the drawing board and turn them into actual products almost instantaneously. The AI-powered solution aims to simplify the overall product development routine by focusing on testing functional prototypes, rather than bouncing half-assed modules and components between different teams. "The time required to test an idea should be zero." said Airbnb design technology lead Benjamin Wilkins. "As it stands now, every step in the design process and every artifact produced is a dead end," the designer added.
IMAGINE a future where you don't have to physically hunt for your hotel light switch. Well, maybe that future is already here. Voice-enabled assistance and voice-assisted devices are gaining momentum in the hotels and hospitality industry, and agents are scrambling to learn about and sell the idea amid growing demand. At the ITB Asia 2017 trade show in Singapore, Rajat Nagpal, vice president of global supply and data aggregation strategy and Asia Pacific sales at Mystifly, said that hotels must keep up to the emerging trend of voice-assisted devices. He predicted that hotels (and potentially, serviced apartments) could see guests using voice assistance – with a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) – across an entire day's worth of work from the moment they rise from bed.
The acquisition will enhance trivago's product with personalization technology which uses both Big Data and a customer-centric approach. Founded in 2015, tripl has developed an algorithm to give tailored travel recommendations by identifying trends in users' social media activities and comparing it with in-app data of like-minded users. Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, trivago is a global hotel search platform, focused on reshaping the way travelers search for and compare hotels. As of June 30, 2017, trivago's global hotel search platform offered access to over 1.8 million hotels in over 190 countries.