AI and ChatGPT in the hospitality industry

Are you feeling any ChatGPT fatigue? Since the start of 2023, social media, news sites and email newsletters have been bombarding audiences with updates, musings and predictions on this (admittedly incredible) tool.

It’s not just ChatGPT either. Other generative AI tools, like Google’s Bard and Baidu’s Ernie, look set to change the way we live and work – or so their creators say. But have you employed it in your business, or have you just used it to write some silly poetry?

A game-changer or a fad?

Every industry, including hospitality, is currently asking itself the same questions:

  • How can generative AI be used?
  • How might it form a competitive advantage?
  • What are the pros and cons of using it?
  • Is it safe?

There’s also cause for a healthy amount of scepticism. Other ‘game-changing’ technologies of recent years, from NFTs to the Metaverse, have largely failed to live up to the hype.

The difference with ChatGPT, however, has been the immediacy of its impact: it gained 100 million users in just two months. It took TikTok nine months, and Instagram 2.5 years, to hit the same number.

Generative AI isn’t like NFTs or the Metaverse. It’s a serious tool with serious and immediate potential, and I believe that every leader in the hospitality industry should currently be discussing what it might mean for their business.

Here’s my take on ChatGPT and generative AI: what it means for hospitality, how it might be used, and how it could change the industry.

How could generative AI help hotels and restaurants?

As with any new technology in the hospitality space, our analysis of ChatGPT should begin with two simple questions:

  • Could it add value to the guest experience?
  • Could it solve problems, remove friction or ease pain points?

If the answer to both questions is yes, it’s worth considering further. And for generative AI in the travel and hospitality sectors, this yes has already been delivered by a number of proven applications:

  • Search: Search results will never be the same. This is the promise of a new, ChatGPT-powered version of Bing capable of delivering hyper-personalised results in a more human way. Search results will still be based on content the engine draws from the internet, so it’s vital that your website is rich in quality content. That said, exactly how generative AI chooses which information to showcase remains to be seen.
  • Content production: What’s more, creating content for search engines to bite into has never been easier. Between the text generation of ChatGPT and the visual generation of DALL-E, a hospitality business can instantly create high quality web copy, advertising copy, blogs and imagery. Huge content production savings are on offer. 
  • Conversational capabilities: ChatGPT could form a human-like chatbot that can understand and predict a traveller’s preferences. It could save a hotelier hours in customer service.
  • Trip planning/concierge service: Where should a traveller go and what should they see? Generative AI tools can produce hyper-personalised itineraries almost instantly, removing the need for a traveller to sift through endless blogs and websites.
  • Revenue management: Many hoteliers are already using AI-powered tools to forecast and set optimal rates. This has streamlined revenue management teams to the point that a single person can now oversee a cluster of properties.

ChatGPT is a game-changer, but where to start?

ChatGPT and other generative AI tools are super accessible – they can be reached, for free, in a couple of clicks through a web browser. The playing field for this technology is perfectly level, so it’s up to you as to how you utilise it, and whether you’ll gain a competitive advantage from it.

Where to start? Well, ChatGPT could:

  • Help your marketing department generate website or promotional content.
  • Help your concierge serve guests better by generating travel suggestions.
  • Help your reservations team upsell by generating hyper-personalised offers.
  • Help your customer service team answer basic questions and requests.

The application of ChatGPT is really only limited by your imagination: it could be used by your finance team to maximise revenue, your housekeeping team to roster workers according to the in-house guest mix, and your maintenance department to schedule upkeep.

Whatever use cases you do (or don’t) find for generative AI, remember that technology is evolving ever faster, so you should have an ongoing conversation about how to use ChatGPT to stay ahead of both your competition and guest expectations.

At Aigens we’ve long realised the power of AI, beginning three years ago with our AI-based ordering recommendations. As John Byun demonstrates in the below video, the outcomes for our users have been incredible, with customer personalisation leading to greater satisfaction and higher spend.