Siri, Alexa and co. have been a part of our lives for a while now, chatbots are popping out of every website now (including online travel agencies and hotel websites) and many are claiming to use AI to better serve their customers. But is this really artificial intelligence?
Well, not really! These Personal Assistants (from your favourite mobile brand or from websites) are given a list of keywords and the best answers for them, if the user asks a question that is not in the database, they will either get a generic answer back or (in cause of online bots) will be forwarded to a (real) person. New answers can be programmed at any time, and that is exactly the difference. According to many, many, many, articles out there: Artificial Intelligence have the ability to "learn", increasing its knowledge and perfecting answer, the more it is used.
So most of the claims of using AI in hospitality are an exaggeration and are actually Automations = If you ask this, I'll answer this. There are discussions out there, on whether SIRI is an AI or not.
Having said that, I think that automation is still pretty cool and has many application on the hospitality industry. Big hotel chains, airlines or even travel portals are still miles away from the technology used by Amazon or Netflix to suggest you things. There are many good tools that are learning to get your trip together and build up an itinerary for you, but wouldn't it be great if a website could recommend you a restaurant or even the destination for your next family holiday, based on where you have been and also on the reviews you wrote in the past?
As in all other industries, automation is advancing at a high pace in the hospitality industry and for sure, we can expect a lot of innovation in the next few years.
Eduardo de Magalhaes