Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data are the latest buzzwords in our industry. They’re brought up regularly when talking about technology and yet there’s confusion about how these technological advances will impact accommodation providers. We aim to clear up that confusion in this article and provide insight into how you can use the latest tech to drive direct bookings and efficiency for your own property.
The simplest definition of AI is intelligence driven by machines, a way of using computers to help us make the right decisions at the right time.
Contrary to depictions of artificial intelligence popular in 1990s films, AI, at this stage, is not about machines thinking for themselves (and taking over the human race). It’s about machines learning by collating, analysing and spotting patterns in vast amounts of data and then using that insight to predict and act on future patterns. Machines are phenomenally good at doing this. Computing power can process much higher volumes of data and make complicated calculations at a much faster rate than humans.
The question is, how can we take this intelligence and turn it into something that’s valuable to our brand and to help us provide our guests (and potential guests) with a better service and online booking experience?
Is AI the new UX?
Accenture has predicted that AI will be the new user experience (UX) and looking at statistics from Gartner research, they’re not wrong. According to Gartner, 89% of businesses compete primarily on customer experience and by 2020, 85% of consumers will manage their relationships without interacting with a human.
When you take a moment to think about this, it isn’t that surprising. With millennials taking over baby boomers as the largest demographic and with ‘Generation Z’ soon to follow, guests’ expectations are rapidly changing. Today’s guests have grown up glued to multiple devices, with the world at their fingertips and various apps flashing for their attention. This demographic spends as much of their life in the digital space as in the ‘real world’. A great online experience has become just as important as in-house guest service and this digital service relies heavily on UX.
AI has a major role to play in helping us understand who our shoppers are, what their intent is and what kind of journey they’re on when they make a booking. The technology can improve UX by interpreting how visitors interact with a website and booking engine and then adapting to make them more likely to convert.
To put it simply, AI can help accommodation providers be more proactive, rather than reactive. It could determine what each potential guest wanted before they asked for it.
Introducing Allora: the world’s first AI booking engine
The AI booking engine will soon be a reality. In October, Avvio will launch the world’s first AI direct booking engine, called Allora. Allora is more advanced, more adaptive and more intelligent than any other direct booking engine. By orchestrating better online interactions between hotels and guests, Allora focuses primarily on driving direct bookings and guest loyalty through a dynamic user experience.
Allora works by collating and analysing vast amounts of data, including a website visitor’s geography, guest history, booking preferences, website interactions, conversions and more, to better understand their behaviour. Allora then uses this understanding to offer personalised results tailored to each visitor’s needs. This makes the booking journey dynamic and enables visitors to find what they’re looking for more quickly. As a result, they’re more likely to convert.
Due to the nature of AI, Allora evolves with every interaction. It watches and learns from what’s currently happening, and what has happened in the past so that it can optimise the booking journey and drive conversions.
To speed up and strengthen the platform’s evolution, Allora doesn’t just learn from the information from one individual property but trains on anonymised data from across hundreds of Avvio’s partner hotels. This enables each hotel to build on insights from across our network, and drive precision with their own data. The booking journey improves much more rapidly, boosting direct bookings and delivering a more personalised online service that reflects the exquisite experience hotel staff give to guests in-house.
Ultimately Allora isn’t just a booking engine, it’s more of an intelligent conversation platform which curates a more refined, more appropriate conversation with your website visitors and that may be a conversation about loyalty or a booking, or an upsell. We can’t continue to provide all customers with the same conversation, so Allora is going to change that.
For more on Allora, see my recent blog post, and register to be kept updated at www.allora.ai.