Industry Update
Opinion Article 9 July 2021

The Dilemma between Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in the Hospitality Industry!

By Jefrey Walter, Dynamic Optimist | Hospitality Management Student | Passionate Hotelier

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In recent years, technological advancements have driven and manipulated the hospitality industry. Moreover, due to the COVID -19 pandemic, technology has evolved quickly like never before from virtual events to high-end robots. However, there is a humongous dilemma between AI & EQ in hospitality because the industry is all about "PEOPLE".

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How can Hotels Utilize EQ to Maximize Overall Business Performance?

The term emotional intelligence (EQ) was popularised by the psychologist, Daniel Goleman. Firstly, it is imperative to understand that technology is extremely important and will help any business to envision and reach goals. In the hospitality industry, hotels are rapidly adopting AI to maximize profits, guest retention, and overall performance, and more importantly to analyze guests and varying trends using data analytics. Using AI to replace the core employees is not going to make the hospitality industry "Hospitable" or it will not help hotels to reach long-term goals. This is because over time the Millennials and gen Z guests are going to travel like never before. Due to their continuous experience with virtual meetings and events, work from home, and the so-called technology-driven life, these guests will expect HUMAN-TOUCH, HOSPITALITY, EMPATHY, MOTIVATION, and more importantly HIGH-END SATISFACTORY SERVICE with integrated technological solutions.

In order to achieve all these expectations, hotels should consider training staff to improve their EQ so that they can deal with any situation or use their EQ to make decisions when AI is unable to answer guest's queries or special requests, etc. In order to become more self-aware, employees need to consistently assess their own feelings and moods. Furthermore, due to rising customer loyalty, employees can emphasize highly personalized touches and anticipate what a guest needs before he or she actually says them, unlike the AI which is programmed to respond only to certain inputs. Soft skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, kindness, integrity, optimism, self-motivation, and resilience, are critical for success, according to Forbes. They also predict that by 2030, employment requiring these soft skills will account for two-thirds of all positions. Frontline hospitality employees must learn to deal with a variety of different personalities, emotions, and demands from their guests. For all these factors, EQ is still the No.1 in the Hotel Industry.

How can Hotels Utilize AI to Maximize Overall Business Performance?

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay forever, but only as a dynamic helping tool or as an assistant for humans in the HOSPITALITY industry. The AI is poised to make all the difference in the HOSPITALITY industry with some hotel groups already leveraging AI-enabled tools in their efforts to drive guest personalization. Guest personalization is about data. It is a function of capturing and leveraging a vast ocean of guest profile information. Only 17% of Americans express interest in fully automated restaurant concepts. However, by striking a balance between human touch and AI, guests and hotels can encounter humongous benefits in terms of loyalty programs, data protection, occupancy and rate Optimization, and competitive advantages. The following AI-based strategies will be essential for hotels to move their path towards gaining a competitive advantage in global markets:

  • Reputation Management: AI can be used to efficiently analyze guest reviews and social media posts that link to the hotel allowing automated responses and notifies the staff to communicate better. AI also can alert if there is negative feedback which can help hotels to find a solution rapidly before it reaches the potential public.
  • Personalization: Personalized experiences will help hotels to boost revenue and loyalty by tailoring their offering with thoughtful touches. AI can easily identify the personal touches that draw people to your hotel and help tailor your experience to the individual.
  • Predictive Analytics: More "Data" is empowering hotels to provide an amazing, personalized experience. As more technology is added to improve the guest experience, it will add more and more data about how guests interact with staff and the amenities throughout the hotel. All these interactions can be automatically saved for individual guests and use it to adapt their experience next time.
  • Sales & Marketing: AI-powered hotel data analytics allow hotels to personalize marketing campaigns that target ideal customers. Hotel revenue management software is effectively used to track booking patterns, seasonal demands, eating habits, guest preferences, activities of interest, and identify untapped revenue opportunities, and optimize marketing strategies.
  • Revenue Management: AI can manage data better, quicker and more accurately to help revenue managers optimize and make better pricing decisions.

Ready to Integrate EQ & AI?

The future is optimistic where an integrated EQ & AI skills are needed to better optimize and provide guests an out-of-the-world experience. Furthermore, the true HOSPITALITY SERVICE will be enhanced and catalysed through an integrated approach between Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Emotional intelligence (EQ). This is because it will help the guests to experience a harmonized and futuristic hospitality and service, on the other hand, it helps hotels to gain a competitive advantage and remain customer-centric through this integrated approach where AI + EQ = Future of Hospitality!

Jefrey Walter

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