More than just robots and chatbots, AI is one of the most powerful and diverse business tools.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) often conjures up a world of robot pets and smart in-home technology. A fridge that orders food before it runs out. An Apple watch which senses when you’ve had a fall and alerts emergency services. A pet – or even a partner – to give you affection.
Using AI at home excites many – the removal of dull chores can gift precious free time. But in business, AI is misrepresented by robot workers and automated identification.
AI provides a sophisticated understanding of business and behaviours. It is massively changing the way business is done – enhancing the customer experience, and growing sales and revenue. Forget robots; AI knows how to connect with your customers in a meaningful, human way.
Web 3.0 is now
We are in an era of online sales; ecommerce is sophisticated and retailers need to meet consumer expectations. Digital-first tech companies have disrupted how we buy, with intuitive marketplaces and apps which understand and preempt customers’ purchase behaviours. Today’s generation is defined by on-demand, direct and convenient digital retail.
Tech is more accessible and more affordable. Systems once only attainable by cash-rich companies are now available to SMEs. AI has developed beyond chatbots and robot waiters. It can help businesses meaningfully communicate with every online visitor, in real-time.
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On a daily basis, we use a proliferation of recognition technology. Netflix utilises an individual’s viewing history. Amazon customises to your buying behaviours.
So why is there delay in many industries, especially hospitality, in using this tech?
AI-driven technology is easy-to-implement – and cost-effective. AI learns people’s interests, matching products for a more seamless experience. And customers are adapting: 76% of customers expect a curated retail experience such as those provided by Booking.com. It’s a no brainer.
Defining AI for customer relations
Artificial Intelligence is already deployed in Natural Language Processing (NLP) to facilitate voice assistants, or comprehensive decision trees which support chatbots. And yet it can be used in an even smarter way, to support conversion at every customer touchpoint.
Move on from pre-programmed information and formulas; AI self-learns. It analyses and interprets customer behaviour. In an instant, AI platforms recognise individual preferences and intent. AI acts on this, responding immediately with curated content relevant to each user. That might be a different hotel room or local experience for holidaymakers booking a trip, or a complementary jacket for someone buying a pair of jeans.
When reviewing technology priorities, you need to consider the human elements. Does your tech stack help you connect with people? Can your team work smarter? AI can help you do both.
Businesses no longer need to build their own tech solutions; existing platforms are capable of running thousands of AI models simultaneously, learning and improving the experience in real-time.
AI in action: hotels and hospitality
I’ve seen hotels add AI to their booking engine and grow monthly revenue, with impressive 30 times Return on Investment. How does the technology do this? By placing the customer at its core.
To change your business, your technology needs to centre around the guest experience. This is the only way you will drive revenue growth. Make it about money and a customer will feel like a commodity. Use AI to create smarter digital engagements and your customer will feel valued.
AI boosts marketing and revenue: loyalty recognition, upselling and offers all improve with real-time technology. Companies can shift marketing engagement from manual deployment to intelligent automation. Rather than replacing human workforces, AI frees up staff time to focus on deeper strategic planning and initiatives, and provide face-to-face guest experiences.
Today’s consumers have a digital-first outlook, expecting easy user experiences and smooth customer journeys. In hospitality, 52% of guests who booked via an Online Travel Agent (OTA) actually checked the hotel’s own website – before booking with an OTA.
Price wasn’t the main driver of this behaviour; it was led by a poor online experience on the hotels’ site. Hotels can reclaim their selling and distribution power thanks to predictive AI. Don’t let another company ‘own’ your customer.
AI has changed our at-home experience. If AI can elevate your fridge, what do you think it can do for your business? Businesses need to free themselves from the shackles of process to think more strategically around brand engagement, rather than short-term tactical efforts.
What is your company doing with AI to compete in today’s digital world?
By Mike Webster
Mike Webster is CEO of Arvoia and an advocate of businesses having access to purposeful AI. He has co-founded and worked for various fintech, tech and software companies.
Arvoia uses the power of AI to return hotels to the forefront of the traveller experience by fuelling behaviour-based retailing. Find out more at arvoia.com
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