AI and Hospitality: Myths, Truths, and Emerging Applications

AI is a paradigm-shifting technology that has a lot of hype and misunderstanding, but also immediate applications in hospitality - and the potential to both transform operations AND improve the guest experience.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a buzzword in today's technology and business landscapes. We hear about the revolutionary potential for automating content development, task speed, and enhancing one's daily experience. But what is AI really (and what is it not), especially in the context of hospitality? With any new technology there are both misconceptions and truths about its impact – and in an industry where the goal is a memorable, personal, and human experience, it’s important to understand the difference.


The Truth About AI

Contrary to popular depictions in sci-fi movies, AI is not a sentient being, nor does it possess human-like consciousness. It cannot replace human emotions, intuition, or creativity. AI is a powerful technology designed to complement human efforts and improve efficiency. In lodging, AI is not a substitute for the experience that guests come for, and the human touch that conveys warmth, empathy, and personalized interaction. Instead, AI should be viewed as a tool to augment human tasks that computing does best, not as a substitute for human presence.

Okay, so what actually is AI then? At its core, AI is a simulation of the way human intelligence develops, transposed into a computer environment, enabling it to perform tasks that would normally require human intellect. The process typically involves analyzing large amounts of data, identifying patterns, testing, learning from experiences, and repeating the process in order to make even more intelligent recommendations the next time round. Examples of this technology in our daily lives run the gamut from image recognition for 2-factor authentication (e.g. what a bicycle looks like vs a fire hydrant), to automated driving assistance in vehicles. Thus, the efficacy of the data, the depth of human understanding around the targeted problem, the competency of the coding, and the willingness to allow learning (and thus improvement) are keys to enabling an AI that can become extremely useful.

Because of its nature, repetitive tasks with a consistent set of outcomes can become highly automated with AI quickly (think a chatbot or Amazon Alexa that can be trained to answer lots of standard questions, even if they are asked in many different ways), while for more complex applications that still require human involvement, AI acts as a massive accelerant (due to its incredible processing power and pattern recognition capabilities). For instance, in writing this article we leveraged ChatGPT (GPT3.5) to generate sample articles on the same topic. There was no perfect final version despite multiple iterations, but the samples did provide good structure and examples (in a matter of seconds) from which we drew on to assist and expedite the creative process.


High Potential Applications for Independent Lodging

All of this begs the question then as to what are the emerging uses of AI for innkeepers, B&B owners, and other proprietors within the lodging sector? When looking at where AI can be best positioned (e.g. the combination of data analysis, repetition, and pattern recognition), three clear opportunities stand out.

Enhanced Customer Support: AI chatbots can provide 24/7 customer support, responding to queries promptly and efficiently. This feature not only improves customer satisfaction but also reduces the workload for property staff. AI-powered chatbots can handle routine inquiries, freeing up staff to focus on personalized guest needs, fostering a harmonious balance between technology and human touch.

Targeted Marketing: AI-driven data analytics can allow properties to understand their customers better. By analyzing guest preferences, feedback, and booking patterns, AI can assist in crafting targeted marketing campaigns and loyalty programs. Engaging customers with personalized promotions can lead to increased repeat bookings and property loyalty.

Dynamic Pricing and Revenue Management: In the B&B and inns space full of unique properties with unique demand, AI can help optimize pricing strategies. AI algorithms can analyze real-time bookings, historical trends, and external factors to adjust room rates in real-time. By implementing true dynamic pricing and leveraging analysis of the results of these pricing strategies (as opposed to static rules set at one moment in time), properties can constantly be finding the best rate which will maximize revenue during both peak and non-peak periods.



Artificial Intelligence holds tremendous potential for the independent lodging industry and numerous other fields. By understanding what AI is and is not, we can harness its capabilities effectively to offer more seamless guest service and increase business opportunity.

While AI can help streamline operations, enhance guest experiences, and maximize revenue, it will not replace the essence of human interactions that make the hospitality industry truly special. Leveraging this technology in the right applications, however, can take advantage of AI’s massive computing capability to recognize patterns and optimize repetitive tasks – while also freeing up operators’ valuable time to focus on and enhance their guests’ experiences. Striking the right combination between AI components and human touch is key to unlocking the full potential of this transformative technology.

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