Few industries have been hit as hard by the pandemic as the hospitality industry. According to January 2022 study By the National Restaurant Association, 74 percent of restaurant operators said their business is less profitable now than it was before the pandemic began, and 63 percent of operators said their turnover in 2021 was lower than it was in 2019.
Retaining employees has never been easier either, Workers are leaving the hospitality industry in record numbers. according to new data From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5.6 percent of employees in the food service and accommodation industry left their jobs in April 2022, more than any other sector.
AI can help understaffed and cash-strapped hospitality companies. Many companies now offer AI-powered solutions to improve and simplify guest experiences and internal operations, including inventory and supply chain management, menu optimization, guest profiles, and crowd control.
Here’s how three providers are working to implement AI solutions across the hospitality industry.
1. Simplify data analysis.
CrunchTime, an operations platform founded in 1995, works with restaurant chains of all sizes to streamline operations using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Clients include industry giants such as Dunkin’, Wendy’s and Shake Shack, along with hundreds of small, one-stop businesses.
One reason restaurants are ready to implement AI is that a single transaction can produce a great deal of data, such as how many guests are in a restaurant at any given time, what they buy, how much they buy, and how they bought it, according to CrunchTime founder Bill Bellissimo. Traditionally, all of this data would be recorded and analyzed by the general manager for use in bookkeeping and inventory management operations, a process typically completed by manually entering the data into a spreadsheet or on paper. With the advent of machine learning, these tasks can be easily simplified, leaving restaurant owners more time to focus on what humans excel at: food and experiences.
“If I told you that you could hire an employee who never takes a day off, works seven days a week, does all of your sales forecasts, all of your product orders, all of your order submissions to vendors, all of your work schedules, my God, Bellissimo says, That sounds like a great employee.” “What we do is take the back of the house and turn it into a self-driving car.”
2. Personalize the guest experience.
Cendyn, a software company focused on hospitality, It offers a cloud-based software platform that centralizes data generated by hotels and allows customers to customize and improve the guest experience by personalizing interactions and experiences for individual guests. Clients include chains like Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton, along with popular hotels like The Ritz London and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Like Bellissimo, Cendyn President and CEO Tim Sullivan sees the typical travel experience as brimming with potentially useful data. From planning and finding a destination to booking, arriving and departing, “you typically interact with about a dozen different systems, and you leave a huge amount of data in your digital wake,” Sullivan says. He adds that in a world that has become increasingly digital due to the pandemic, hotels have more opportunities to leverage this data in small interactions that can be very useful when trying to build brand loyalty with guests.
“One of the things that bothers me is when you go into a hotel I’ve stayed 50 times before, and the first thing the doorman asks is, ‘Have you ever stayed with us?'” Sullivan says. To address this, Cendyn developed an app that, once a helper types a guest’s name, grabs their profile and runs an algorithm to determine the three most important things to say to a guest. Sullivan gave the following example: “First: Say hello to them again, they’re a Platinum VIP member in the loyalty program. . Second: We don’t have a valid email for them on file, secure the email. Third: Provide them with a supplemental, upgrading mail.
3. Automation of crowd control.
Omnico Group, a customer engagement technology company focused on theme parks, casinos and zoos, provides customers with technology to give operators a complete view of each guest’s journey through their parks in order to increase spending and personalize the customer experience. Clients include Six Flags, LEGOLAND operator Merlin Entertainment, and Dubai Parks and Resorts, the Middle East’s largest theme park destination.
Keith Dunphy, Omnico’s chief revenue officer, says park guests are keen on more personalization in their experiences, with 80 percent of visitors to attractions believing places need to do more to attract them, according to a survey by Omnico last summer. The survey also found that nearly one in four visitors would be willing to spend more if they received personalized offers.
One example of this personalization, Dunphy says, is automatically sending guests offers for deals at restaurants with lower traffic in order to take pressure off more crowded park destinations. He adds that this helps keep guests happy because they feel like they’re getting a good deal and don’t have to wait long to get their food. Employees are also less likely to deal with issues of running an overcrowded restaurant, such as angry customers and the pressure of serving more people than employees.
Technology can even be used to set prices. If a park experiences staff shortages, a widely anticipated problem as parks prepare for the summer season, the park can automatically reduce capacity and increase ticket prices, making up for lost revenue from lower attendance. “With fewer crowds, customers are happier and will open their wallets more,” Dunphy said.