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Artificial Intelligence in the Hotel Industry

Abstract

Artificial Intelligence plays a key role in the work of many businesses and industries. The hotel business is increasingly introducing Artificial Intelligence into its branches. In this context, this research paper examines how AI might improve the quality of service and performance in the hotel industry, as well as the perspectives of the use of this technology in this particular field. For this study, a method of qualitative analysis was chosen. The results of the analysis have shown that, overall, Artificial Intelligence proves to have a positive impact on the quality of hotel services and risk management. These outcomes are supported by different studies which determine the challenges and impact AI has on the economy, as well as the context of its development. In addition, the Technology Acceptance model offers the theoretical background regarding human behavior towards the implementation of AI in business. Studies in this field show that the perceived usefulness and ease of use would affect not only consumers’ willingness to employ hotel services again but the employees’ attitude as well. However, the research has also specified that in the light of AI’s lack of emotional intelligence, it cannot fully replace a human’s work yet.

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Introduction

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming more visible and frequently used in every business. The term “Artificial Intelligence” refers to a technology, which endows a computer with a certain level of intelligence that allows it to carry out work at the human level. In essence, AI refers to computers or machines that perform tasks that usually rely on human intelligence for completion. In addition, processes that involve automation and big data often require the implementation of AI – for example, recognizing customers by faces, organizing call centers, analyzing customer needs, and creating personal offers. In that regard, AI has several advantages: it allows hotels to improve the quality of service and speed up the workflow. The introduction of AI in this business presents hotel owners with a wide variety of opportunities to save a significant amount of money, prevent people’s mistakes, and individualize their hotels’ offers. However, to correctly determine the potential of implementing AI into the hotel industry, further studies are required. Therefore, this study seeks to examine the general directions and consequences of AI’s implementation in the hotel business, specifically, its potential to replace human employees in the workspace.

Literature Review

It rarely happens that a new technology transforms consumption, production, and society at the same time. However, today it can be said with confidence that with the development of Artificial Intelligence, such technology has appeared. As mentioned earlier, Artificial Intelligence is not a new concept and has been studied for many years. Thus, it becomes possible to single out several studies that not only define AI but also explain its practical application.

Historical and Modern Contexts of Artificial Intelligence

Haenlein and Kaplan (2019) analyze the history of the emergence of AI both in principle and in the market. Moreover, the authors make some predictions about what impact AI will have in the future. In this vein, the works of Lu et al. (2018), which describe the entire workflow of Artificial Intelligence, are also highlighted. However, if the first authors suggest that AI as a concept originated in the 20th century, these authors describe it in a more modern context. They also believe that it is important to introduce a new concept in the field of Artificial Intelligence, which would correspond to modern trends. Altogether, it becomes possible to trace that different authors have different ideas about the development of the AI concept.

Challenges Presented by the Artificial Intelligence

Studying the problem of the introduction of AI in the tourism and hotel business through the prism of possible threats, it is important to note several other authors. Nam et al. (2020) consider several challenges that arise from the introduction of AI and robotics in the hotel industry. It can also be forecast that in the near future, the tourism business will make extensive use of Artificial Intelligence. Overall, many sources are studying the possible threat to ordinary personnel caused by the introduction of AI. Thus, Prentice et al. (2020) study this problem through the lens of emotional intelligence. The authors of the scientific article emphasize that emotional intelligence has a remarkable impact on the successful functioning of hotels. Moreover, it is noted that AI most often constrains the potential of hotel and hotel staff (Prentice et al., 2020). Artificial Intelligence serves primarily as an auxiliary tool that significantly facilitates the work.

Impact and Future of the Artificial Intelligence

In addition, many authors note the importance of studying AI for the successful implementation of this technology in the hotel industry. Zsarnoczky (2017), as well as Kazak et al. (2020), analyzed the impact of AI on the entire tourism business. Giving their forecast, the authors concluded that AI would continue to actively develop in the field of tourism and hotel business. Yang et al. (2020) also highlight the introduction of AI as an important component of the future trend in the hotel industry.

Finally, Naumov (2019), as well as Ivanov and Webster (2019), all conclude that the introduction of AI has a particular impact on the quality of services that hotels provide. Thus, they highlight the importance of using AI competently and the importance of learning about this new technology.

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Theoretical Underpinning

Regarding the theoretical underpinning of research related to Artificial Intelligence and the hotel business, it becomes possible to distinguish several important studies. However, the most relevant to this research is the Technology Acceptance Model. Brougham and Haar (2017) explain that “STARA awareness captures the extent to which an employee views the likelihood of Smart Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Algorithms impacting on their future career prospects” (p. 241). Based on the technology acceptance model, key factors affecting the role of AI in the hotel industry are identified as perceived ease of use and usefulness.

The implementation of AI must follow these factors in order to induce consumer behavior – if the hotel customers find the technology more usable and convenient, they would more likely return to the hotel’s services again. Moreover, these aspects also affect the employees’ behavior as well, because overall, AI poses a threat in successful career-making to the workers in the customer service field. Brougham and Haar’s (2017) study results show that “when employees are more aware of STARA and its application to their job, they are more likely to have a lower organizational commitment and career satisfaction” (p. 252). Thus, the Technology Acceptance Model can be used to effectively predict and affect human behavior regarding the use of AI in the hotel industry.

However, these same studies note that modern AI still has quite limited applications. According to “The Role of Artificially Intelligent Robot in the Hotel Industry as a Service Innovation”, robotic technology should positively impact the functioning of hotels (Primawati, 2018). However, AI is not able to completely replace all human hotel staff due to its limitations. This source claims that some available tasks still limit Artificial Intelligence’s functions at the moment. Hence, in the hotel industry, Artificial Intelligence is mainly engaged in database analysis. The introduction of Artificial Intelligence almost completely eliminates the possibility of human error. Moreover, it is precisely AI’s cognitive technologies that will form the economy of the future. In an era of permanent economic crisis, companies that invest heavily in the development and implementation of AI systems will gain a solid competitive advantage.

Methods

To correctly gather and interpret the data, the method of qualitative analysis was applied. The analysis is to be conducted on specific examples of hotels that had successfully integrated Artificial Intelligence into their businesses. The research targets a wide audience that is in one way or another interested in the development of the hotel business. This audience consists primarily of existing large hotel chain owners and stockholders, top managers, business consulting agencies, and hotel industry-related corporation owners – overall, about 50 hotels should be featured in the research. The study is expected to prove the impact of the introduction of AI in the hotel industry for specialists in this field. Another point of the study is to collect and analyze data regarding the consequences of the use and application of AI on hotel staff – this could be achieved through interviewing staff members.

Anticipated Results

The results of this study should show the impact of the introduction of Artificial Intelligence in the hotel industry. Thus, the competent use of AI should greatly simplify the work of hotel staff. Many functions, such as database analysis, are performed faster and better by Artificial Intelligence. Moreover, AI almost completely eliminates the possibility of human error, which also has a positive effect on the functioning of the hotel business. Overall, this study should prove that ordinary human personnel will not be affected by the introduction of AI. The analysis is supposed to demonstrate that emotional intelligence plays a key role in the practical and successful functioning of hotels. Thus, an AI that does not possess this type of intelligence that cannot replace people in this field, and accordingly, jobs will not be lost.

Conclusion

This research has provided several important implications for further exploring the impact of AI on the hotel industry. Thus, analyzing the variety of sources, it was possible to establish that, in general, Artificial Intelligence has a positive effect on the operation of hotels. The introduction of AI into database analysis avoids a number of possible human errors. Employees also benefit significantly from the introduction of AI into the workflow, as their work is simplified and accelerated. However, AI does not pose a threat to the hotel labor market, as the importance of emotional intelligence in this business has been demonstrated by the data. Finally, AI significantly improves the quality of services provided by hotels, as all work is completed at a higher speed, and the risks of errors are minimized.

References

Brougham, D., & Haar, J. (2017). Smart Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Algorithms (STARA): Employees’ perceptions of our future workplace. Journal of Management & Organization, 24(2), 239–257. Web.

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Haenlein, M., & Kaplan, A. (2019). A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence: On the Past, Present, and Future of Artificial Intelligence. California Management Review, 61(4), 5–14. Web.

Ivanov, S., & Webster, C. (2019). Conceptual Framework of the Use of Robots, Artificial Intelligence and Service Automation in Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality Companies. Robots, Artificial Intelligence, and Service Automation in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality, 7–37. Web.

Kazak, A. N., Chetyrbok, P. V., & Oleinikov, N. N. (2020). Artificial intelligence in the tourism sphere. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 421(4), 042020. Web.

Lu, H., Li, Y., Chen, M., Kim, H., & Serikawa, S. (2017). Brain Intelligence: Go beyond Artificial Intelligence. Mobile Networks and Applications, 23(2), 368–375. Web.

Nam, K., Dutt, C. S., Chathoth, P., Daghfous, A., & Khan, M. S. (2020). The adoption of artificial intelligence and robotics in the hotel industry: prospects and challenges. Electronic Markets. Web.

Naumov, N. (2019). The Impact of Robots, Artificial Intelligence, and Service Automation on Service Quality and Service Experience in Hospitality. Robots, Artificial Intelligence, and Service Automation in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality, 123–133. Web.

Prentice, C., Dominique Lopes, S., & Wang, X. (2019). Emotional intelligence or artificial intelligence– an employee perspective. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 29(4), 377–403. Web.

Primawati, S. (2018). The role of artificially intelligent robot in the hotel industry as a service innovation. In Proceedings of ENTER2018 PhD Workshop (Vol. 42). Linnaeus University, Sweden. 42-47.

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Yang, L., Henthorne, T. L., & George, B. (2019). Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Technology in the Hospitality Industry: Current Applications and Future Trends. Digital Transformation in Business and Society, 211–228. Web.

Zsarnoczky, M. (2017). How does artificial intelligence affect the tourism industry? VADYBA, 31(2), 85-90.

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