26th September 2023
Welcome to Part 2 of our blog series about AI, written by our friends at Yes Consulting. Part 1 covered what AI is, with a semi-technical explanation with examples of use cases and tools used across this industry and others. Now, part 2 will explore how AI can be used in the Hospitality sector, showing the more widespread use cases of AI tools in this sector with examples, including content, imagery and guest communication.
AI has been developing rapidly in the background, and as expected large corporations have been at the forefront of this, having large datasets to work from.
There are many uses, and the most prominent and popular are listed at the end of this document, however, in holiday rentals, some are having an immediate impact and we have expanded on these below.
AI tools have rapidly been adopted in short-term rentals, particularly by marketing departments and guest-facing teams. In marketing, the capacity to create faster and more eloquent prose for blogs and posts is supported by free image generation of their creation (although it has copyright issues all of its own). Guest communication through chatbots and even verbal language models permeate the industry through Saas businesses and using “Context Analysis”.
Below is an example of instant content creation using ChatGPT4. When asked about the surfing experience around Newquay this was one of the results and took 30 seconds, complete with titles and bullet points. It would need checking, editing and embellishing with more profound and current local knowledge, but provides a foundation for creativity.
Best Surfing Spots:
Types of Surfing Experiences;
Whether you’re new to surfing and eager to catch your wave or an enthusiast in search of the ultimate thrill, Newquay has an array of options that cater to surfers of all levels.
As Google claims to consider ranking content based on EAT (Expertise, Authority and Trust), using AI may seem like a cheat. Hence, companies may rewrite the content using a tool like “Wordtune” and check the words and phraseology with “Grammarly”. The acid test is to then determine if Google sees this as AI-created. Companies use AI detection tools such as undetectable.ai (confirmation image below), which evidences this slightly modified text above as human-written! Even if 95% of it isn’t!
Without images, content is less identifiable and does not generally offer the same potential experience. Adding an image gives immediate relevance and can capture the imagination. This, followed up with great content, can pull potential guests to the property portfolio.
Using stock library photos can be expensive. Taking photographs off the web without permission can sometimes see copyright challenges and threats of legal action for their use.
When searching for photographs or images, that perfect picture may be hard to come by or very expensive. This is where AI image generation is seeing extensive use.
This photo above and the one below are also AI-generated. The image of a girl considering her next surfing move would work alongside the AI text above. The cottage on the beach was created with “Stockimg”, and the one below with “MidJourney”, using a photorealistic command emulating a Canon Digital SLR with a 35 mm lens!
Despite many companies’ best attempts to reduce guest interaction for fundamental issues, human elements occasionally confound us. Some are based on expectation, some on lack of understanding of the rental world, some loss of data, and some simply laziness. They all, however, require follow-up especially pre-booking, post-booking, pre-arrival, in-stay and post-departure attention. Automated emails and messaging systems help deliver across multiple communication channels and have been used for years but are now taking advantage of AI, guest and accommodation data to amplify and streamline messaging and delivery.
Contextual AI equips a company’s systems to process information similarly to human cognition. It goes beyond mere data statistics to understanding keywords, sentiments, cultural nuances and particular circumstances. This comprehension approach empowers AI to deliver more prosperous, pertinent, and precise results.
As an example, how many of your guests ask questions about:
You already have many answers, but guests may not just straightforwardly ask a binary question, it may come with emotion, anger, confusion and continuation of a dialogue jumping in context and complexity. AI is ideally suited to this environment and can initially replace the challenges support staff face.
Websites such as “Chatbase.co” offer a tool that will scan your website or read and analyse your files so that a company can create its intelligent chatbot to take information and offer primary solutions before handing it off to customer service. These can be embedded on company websites to provide questions and answers based on previously created content. With peak season always a pressure cooker and staff at breaking point, adding some “intelligent” automation and out-of-hours support makes sense.
As AI becomes more mature and accessible, the STR industry is expected to adopt more AI-driven solutions for dynamic pricing, property maintenance, and customer personalisation, making the guest or host journey more streamlined and personalised and the whole process from look to more optimised and streamlined.
However, AI systems are frequently seen as mysterious or “black box” entities, the inner mechanics are unclear to those without specialised knowledge. This can result in caution or hesitancy to implement AI-based solutions, as property managers and owners might need more faith in these systems’ suggestions and test them to exhaustion before adopting them.
The challenge is always one of scale. Large corporations can quickly adopt, adapt and benefit from the evolution of AI. The smaller the company, the more reliant on distributed services it becomes, but these services benefit from aggregated learning from multiple clients. They may provide more of a level playing field. A headline overview of the rapidly growing systems available falls into 3 categories:
Implementation of AI can be challenging. With the growth of AI, there’s an increasing focus on ethical practices, including transparency, privacy, and fairness in both B2C and B2B business. This industry is in its infancy and has many challenges and opportunities.
In all situations, many concerns, such as data privacy, need addressing by all industries. AI often requires large datasets, raising concerns about privacy and security. Also, if the data used to train AI contains biases, the AI can perpetuate or amplify those biases, so care needs to be taken.