The Rise of the Hotel Chatbot

The only source of knowledge, Einstein famously said, is experience. It would appear that growing numbers of people agree with him. In a world saturated with information and convenience, the value of old-fashioned connectivity has become visible in a new light. “Digital detox” has become a popular travel niche, while the industry as a whole is focusing on experiences rather than ‘places to stay.’ The desire for authentic connection to people and communities has become a major theme in hospitality.

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Are Robots Taking Over Hotels?

In last week’s post, we talked about The Matrix and how the ability to see and interpret big data is the future of success in the hospitality industry. There’s another theme in that film that applies—or will soon apply—to hotels and hotel management.

Namely the rise of artificial intelligence, how it will be applied to the work we do, and how it might change the service experience for guests. Before everything went south in The Matrix, machines must have dominated the service industry and might things quite a bit easier for people. But even if robotic service is easier, would it be better?

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Science Fiction Hotels Already Exist

Not so long ago, telephones had chords. And not long before that they had wind up handles with people talking on party lines where several people in the neighbourhood had to share the same number and others could listen in to your call if they wanted to. If you wanted to record a movie, you needed a shoulder-mounted apparatus the size of a bazooka. And if you wanted information about the Korowai tribe in Papua New Guinea, you had to sit in a library and dig for it. Our modern digital devices and global information networks seem miraculous by comparison, and indeed they are—but that doesn’t mean they won’t meet with the same fate. The forward march of technology is relentless. What seemed like science fiction yesterday is reality today, and will become the dinosaur of tomorrow.

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