AI (Artificial Intelligence) vs. EQ (Emotional Intelligence)
In the age of rapid technological innovation where machines exceed new milestones each day, there are concerns that automation leads to job loss – particularly when it comes to technology in the hospitality industry. However, these concerns imply that AI and humans have the same capabilities; they don’t.
AI (Artificial Intelligence), often associated with concepts such as automation and big data, refers to machines performing tasks that were traditionally considered to require cognitive function to perform. AI powered machines operate best in controlled environments and are proficient at handling repetitive, process-driven tasks.
Alternatively, tasks that require creative thinking, empathy, and dexterity call for EQ, or Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is becoming an invaluable skill in the hospitality industry because interactions are not just about the delivery of standardized services; they require connectedness and emotional responses to a variety of complex situations.
In the context of service transactions, AI is associated with the tech aspects (e.g., data collection and analysis, order processing) while EQ is associated with the human, or “touch,” aspects (e.g., welcoming smile, reassuring voice, empathetic staff member).
Applying AI Technology in the Hospitality Industry
Businesses across the hospitality industry are leveraging AI to increase efficiency, cut costs, and personalize the customer journey. Here are a few examples:
- Hoteliers and travel agencies are using virtual assistants and NLP (Natural Language Processing) chatbots to manage guest queries, enabling the business to provide the same level of customer service 24/7/365.
- AI-powered self-service kiosks are taking traditional restaurant experiences to new heights by streamlining the ordering process, and in turn reducing the wait time for patrons.
- AI and machine learning are facilitating the automation of many touchpoints for hotel guests, including check-in, checkout, and support during their stay.
- Conversational AI platforms can intelligently interact with guests and, if necessary, even route complex queries to a human agent.
- Digital check-in systems that are integrated with AI technology are providing customers the convenience of checking in to their rooms via their mobile device without having to stop at the front desk.
- AI technology can assess large amounts of data quickly drawing valuable insights about consumer behavior that can inform key business strategy decisions, such as offering a new product or service. For instance, an organization could leverage AI to discover patterns among data – like shifts in customer preferences – that uncover opportunities to tap into profitable market segments.
Regardless of the application, one thing remains constant – AI output depends on human input.