Hoteliers recognize that millennials – and their successor Gen Zs – communicate differently. They also want experiences that are personalized, context-aware, and unfolding in real time – something humans aren't always capable of delivering. To evolve and accommodate these next-gen guests, hotels have implemented changes, from hotel design and amenities to guest services. Some of the most recent technological adaptations for hotels bring together human expertise and machine intelligence creating a seamless, better real-time experience for the guest. Generation DIY is opening the door to Generation AI.
Millennials are incredibly focused on experience. They earn less money and take fewer vacation days, so they want to make every vacation dollar spent count. They command extraordinary experiences with top-notch customer service - 56% of Millennials moved their business from at least one company in the past year due to poor customer service. In fact, customer experience is increasingly defined by customer service, with 76% of all generations now viewing customer service as a "true test" of how much a company values them.
However, millennials, unlike preceding generations, don't want in-person interactions when it comes to customer service. Sixty-six percent of millennial travelers avoid talking face-to-face with a real person to receive service, and 72% believe a phone call is not the best way to resolve a service issue. Instead, this DIY Generation wants instant, self-service solutions. It's almost a visceral need: 69% of millennials say that they feel good about themselves (as well as the company they are doing business with) when they resolve a problem without talking to a company representative!
To meet the millennial guest where their guest experience needs are, hotels must understand millennial communication preferences. What do they prefer?
The disintermediation of frontline human customer service by millennials led one recent headline to summarize their preference this way: "Help Me Help Myself or I'm Out."
Fortunately for hoteliers, there's another new intelligent platform on the scene to meet millennials where their demand lies: the smartconcierge. Inspired by human concierges, the smartconcierge is a machine learning tool powered by artificial intelligence, which is programmed to anticipate and meet guests' needs, instantly. Weak Wi-Fi signal? Ask the smartconcierge for help. Need a sushi restaurant recommendation and reservation. The smartconcierge can handle that. Want poolside bar service? Ping the smartconcierge. A response will be returned in less than one second. First generation smartconcierges deliver service through smartphone messaging, but they are also now being integrated into voice assistants as well.
The smartconcierge's AI enables it to interpret guests' needs by context, preferences, and prior requests. Then, the smartconcierge delivers timely and relevant answers, additional content, and special offers. Its powerful technology not only adroitly meets the needs of millennial guests, but all guests, freeing up hotel staff to focus on more complicated requests. And when the smartconcierge can't handle a request or a cannot satisfy a guest, it knows to elevate the request to a human counterpart in guest services to take over. At that point, the smartconcierge updates the guest with status alerts until the matter is fully resolved. A happy guest is a loyal guest.
The smartconcierge also provides "up-serving" and guest experience enhancement opportunities. Hoteliers can push VIP invites, special gatherings, event tickets and more through the smart concierge.
All of these smartconcierge features serve to surprise and delight the DIY Generation who then do what every hotelier hopes they'll do: write rave reviews of their stay and shout-out their awesome smartconcierge. In short, hotels that want to drive incremental revenues and capture the imagination and loyalty of high expectation-propelled millennials would do well to adapt to emerging AI tools like a smartconcierge quickly.
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Product design expert Raj Singh is CEO at Go Moment®, a Google-backed company dedicated to making customer service instant. Go Moment's award-winning smartconcierge Ivy®, as seen on NBC, is the world's largest guest engagement automation platform for hotels. Singh brings cross-discipline design, technology, and marketing experience from hundreds of large-scale technology projects for leading brands like Virgin, Lady Gaga, and HEB Grocery Company. Blending his deep expertise in UX and market research, Singh works alongside leaders in hospitality to address the industry's needs in using next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and labor automation. In partnership with IBM Watson, Go Moment's Ivy platform, which utilizes text or voice messaging and leverages human expertise and automation to resolve requests instantly, is currently available to millions of hotel guests. Singh’s select speaking engagements and panels include: • HEDNA Innov8 • Oi Summit • BLLA Stay Boutique Live • HITEC • Phocuswright Conference • CWT VIP Summit • Plug and Play Ventures • Hotel Interactive BITAC • IBM Insight