Leveraging AI for Effective Hotel Marketing
Most experts now agree that artificial intelligence (AI) is the future of hotel marketing. For decades hoteliers have been reluctant to investigate, let alone deploy wide-scale digital marketing strategies. Today, the writing is on the wall, as they say. With the advent of innovations like Google AI, AI-powered marketing strategies are on the visible horizon. The following is a short primer on technologies ranging from IoT to machine learning, as well as AI-powered CRM and more.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence, or “AI” for short, is the branch of computer science built around intelligent machines that aim to emulate how humans think and respond. AI is made up of a subset of learning capabilities.
Machine learning is the field that enables machines to automatically learn and improve from experience input into a system. At a much more powerful level, a subset known as “deep learning” leverages massive neural networks and a range of algorithms in order to emulate human intelligence. Another facet known as natural language processing is a realm that hoteliers sometimes use to create a two-way channel of communication between guests and the hotel.
When combined, these and other forms of AI enable hotel marketing teams to glean valuable insights that improve leads, bookings, and ROI, while bettering workflow and other aspects of marketing. Hoteliers can now supercharge their advertising, marketing, and branding efforts like never before using AI, Big Data, the IoT, and other new technologies. What was once considered “experimental” technology, has become a success story for many early adopters of AI. Now let’s look at a prime example of AI for hotels.
A Little About Google’s RankBrain AI
This amazing tool is a machine learning wonder that not only answers user queries, it can also predict guest preferences and behaviours . With hoteliers keenly focused now on the guest experience, AI can now help revenue managers target better in order to increase revenues as well. The algorithms employed by RankBrain AI and other such utilities will revolutionize hotel operations like social media has revolutionized communications.
To understand how RankBrain works, it’s important to know that before this AI was set in place, 100% of Google’s algorithm was hand-coded. Human engineers and testers were needed to prove out every change in these complex algorithms, whereas RankBrain now operates in the background to make most of the changes for them. RankBrain does things like measure user satisfaction for certain search terms, thereby eliminating less meaningful results. In this way, RankBrain continually improves keyword rankings and SEO positioning depending on user satisfaction and relevancy. It sounds complicated, and it is, but in the end, the system greatly simplifies a set of huge tasks.
Without digging deep into Google’s fantastic machiners, RankBrain AI for hoteliers is all about keyword research. What would normally take a hotel revenue guru hours and hours, can be accomplished with AI in seconds. By optimizing keywords and content for ad campaigns and SEO that are RankBrain friendly, hotel marketers can get the most search volume and ad ROI. Another aspect, and perhaps an even more important one, is RankBrain’s capability to interpret things like the location of the searcher, personalization, and the words of the query to determine the searcher’s true intent. It is in this “intent” that real conversions happen. This is what AI can do for a hotel or any other kind of business. You can read more about RankBrain at MOZ.
Al and the Guest
The guest experience is already almost a cliché. Individualization in the hospitality industry was paramount even when hotels were all “brick and mortar” operations. The digital revolution today is powered by technologies that could never have been envisioned even 15 years ago. Today, the hotel and the guest are connected in ways the ad men of the 1950s could never have foreseen. AI used for chatbots, AI-powered content strategies, AI for assessing Big Data, the list of proven and emerging marketing technologies gets bigger, not smaller.
The hotelier gets the highestreward from AI because of the technology’s capability in pattern recognition. This aspect enables hotels to capture customer data, such as brand interactions and buying behaviour, to serve customers better. This is the primary benefit to guests. But another facet is more easily seen.
Take virtual reality for instance. Used primarily for its entertainment value, it now enables hotel marketers toleverage VR’s potential for delivering important information to potential customers in a way they can actually experience, while at the same time stimulating multiple senses in the process. Using AI hotel marketers are able to identify similarities in how different guests interact with messaging. So, messages can be created and recreated in real-time, depending on how the guest responds. As you can imagine, the possibilities for these technologies is virtually (pun intended) limitless.
CRM and AI
AI-powered CRM helps hoteliers optimize segmentation and messaging to help increase conversions by improving the potential guest’s experience while he or she is being marketed to. As circuitous as this sounds, pattern recognition done in real-time alters the marketing game completely.
A better experience that is all but ensured, will certainly lead to increased conversions versus static marketing. The best example is automated up-selling to deliver the most relevant offers to a specific user via the best channel at the ideal time. This kind of sales is what engagement is becoming for those revenue and marketing people willing to adopt new ideas. When this kind of engagement is analyzed and applied to future communications with individual users, you can imagine how the success rate goes up. CRM is one aspect of hotel marketing that is superpowered by leveraging AI.
Anticipating guest behaviour, this is one of the most powerful capabilities of artificial intelligence. AI marketers today can do propensity modelling in order to identify prospects who are far more easily converted. AI enables hoteliers to correlate customer traits in order to anticipate behaviours. These propensities, integrated with Google Ads leads to fully optimize conversion strategies.
Applying new AI-powered tech with advanced forms of predictive analytics, hotel marketers can now leverage data to create highly effective marketing models to further maximize outcomes. A great example of how this kind of approach can maximize profits is through demand specific optimization. Think of how seasonal changes can affect guest preferences and behaviours. Now, hoteliers are able to extract huge volumes of guest data and to leverage predictive analytics to act on seasonal changes and demand-centric aspects of guests behaviours . AI-powered forecasting can now help us optimize service offerings, pricing standards, and even expand on our brand marketing in ways we never imagined before. And this is just one facet of a much more intricate marketing scheme.
AI: To Be Continued…
End to end, AI for hotel marketing has caused a paradigm shift in the way we strategize for hotels. Chatbots and aspects like intuitive analytics are only the beginning. When we consider what integrating data systems with control and communicative platforms such as the IoT, we end up with a feedback loop of immense power. Many labour-intensive tasks simply vaporize, while guest engagement ends up becoming an input matrix of inestimable help in refining marketing. Very soon AI-powered features will become the expectation for marketing efforts.