As a branch of artificial intelligence which holds the most promise for hotel applications, machine learning will empower hoteliers to truly harness the power of Big Data. A number of prominent companies, outside the hospitality industry, have built tremendous success around leveraging Big Data through machine learning in order to give customers the most relevant suggestions. Examples include Amazon and Netflix, among others. For the hotel industry, an incredible amount of data is amassed from the sheer number of hotel guests, and machine learning can effectively analyze and leverage it to its full advantage for hoteliers. Something which hotels have largely struggled with in the past.
Unfortunately, much information of extremely high value to hotels is often left critically under-utilized. Big Data processed through machine learning capabilities will in time transform much more than the marketing and hotel operations efforts of the hospitality industry. Customer service through guest personalization is an area in which hoteliers will benefit from Big Data analytics via machine learning as well.
Much of the data can be collected and instantly analyzed in real time as well. This is where a local hotel property can really excel and set themselves apart. This data may include guest room preferences and upgrade requests, dining selections, and any special services ordered such as spa treatments the guest may have requested while on-property. The data may be gathered through any direct contact between the hotel and the guest, by means of face to face conversation, phone conversations, or the hotel website. By joining as many data sources as possible through system interfaces, a more complete picture can be created of each and every hotel guest. This empowers hoteliers to provide guests the most relevant choices, which will instantly strike a chord and compel them to action.
Customer information garnered on the hotel’s website will include valuable demographics and location data as well. The one-on-one interaction, outside the digital realm, between hotel staff and guests is the most powerful. This information can have an impact in driving up direct bookings, since OTAs never have such immediate contact with their customers. Mobile hotel apps is another tool hotels have at their disposal to gather guest preference data. These hotel apps offer guests many more ways to engage with hotels and can provide them instant gratification when on hotel property, while furnishing indispensable data for hoteliers.
In the last part of this series we will see the enormous impact machine learning capabilities can have upon inventory control and revenue management.