Hotels looking and feeling like McDonald’s, a pattern that can only accelerate
Not so long ago diners at McDonald’s walked up to the counter and ordered, seems like a long time ago now, although of course it’s still possible. The point is that diners visiting McDonald’s don’t do this anymore, they order through self-service kiosks. It’s the norm.
The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has seen its adoption accelerate and as such basic concierge services are only a starting point.
For many years hotel groups like CitizenM and others have been operating self-serve check in for guests via a range of terminals. Further development of technology including AI is a logical next step that is in line with both the hotel’s culture, and the guest’s expectations.
For example, Amazon’s Alexa already integrates seamlessly with existing hotel services and has become an ‘AI concierge’ for guests. Alexa only needs to be asked to…order food and drink, control in-room temperature or lighting, find local restaurants and attractions, make phone calls, check in , check out, and much more.
Alexa took up the job of hotel concierge with Marriott in mid-2018 and has been doing it ever since.
In the US 65% of 25 to 49-year-olds use voice search at least once a day and voice is becoming part of consumer routine and expectation, including when they travel.
The transition of self-serve kiosks in McDonald’s was rolled out and tested for ROI in the US through their Experience of the Future strategy, they passed with flying colours and were brought to the UK.
AI has followed and will accelerate faster than any other technology adoption we have seen before, why, because guests will expect it, and hotels will save on HR, substantially.
Marriott may have the lead currently in AI adoption, but AI is not only growing in its adoption it is also growing in its sophistication and range of applications.
We recently reported on hologram concierges – Please meet, a very real and emotionally intelligent hologram concierge – very real and very intelligent. Just watch the video in the link above and see people’s reactions.
Why should hospitality be so mindful of AI technology?
Because the already acute people and skills shortages in hospitality lend a great big helping hand to technology providers to focus on this sector. Hospitality providers need human resources, if AI resources can do many of the same jobs, deliver them with almost flawless precision, and make significant HR savings at the same time. It seems like the perfect pond for technology providers to fish in.
Accelerating adoption of technology and change
The internet has changed the world over the past twenty five years, in December 1993 there were 3 million internet users, in December 2018 there were 4.7 billion.
The internet has toppled governments during that time and has irreversibly changed the very nature of how we all live our lives.
e-commerce sales worldwide in 2018 amounted to 2.9 trillion US dollars and it is growing. If the internet were a country it would be in the top half of the world’s GDP Top 10.
As the years tick by the number of people who have experienced work before the internet reduces, and as such acceptance of change grows, in short time it will stop being change.
This year, for the first time ever, people worldwide will spend more time online than they do watching TV. 68% of the world’s population now own a mobile phone (powerful computer).
Worldwide Internet Penetration and Usage Statistics 2018:
World Population – 7.593 billion
Internet Users – 4.021 billion – 53%
Active Social Media Users – 3.196 billion – 42%
Unique Mobile Users – 5.135 billion – 68%
Active Mobile Social Media Users – 2.958 billion – 39%
So, as the world’s population gets more mobile, in travel terms as well as how they communicate and receive information, we predict that hospitality will change faster than most sectors, as it will have to.
We have not referenced our sources for any of the statistics, as we think doing a bit of searching for them will underline the facts far better than we have. Google will also provide far more that we can in a short article.