The future of concierges is here, and it’s text-based. This article will explore the potential for chatbots to replace human services across a range of industries.
The “hotels with contactless check-in near me” is a feature that hotels are adding to their concierge services. The contactless check-in allows guests to bypass the front desk and go straight to their room.
The concierge at your next hotel could not be in the same time zone as your room. Alternatively, sentient.
The practice of having visitors dial “0” on a landline phone to request an additional towel is being phased out by larger chains and smaller inns. Rather, properties are relying on SMS messages. This implies that queries may be handled by a person in another state, a bot, or a digital spider monkey.
During a recent vacation at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California, photographer Andrew Gallery used the hotel’s Chat Your Service app to request a bottle opener and additional glasses. Mr. Gallery, who resides in Los Angeles, describes the assistance he got as “some nice individual who is down to help.” “However, I’m not certain it’s individuals on the other end.”
According to manager Lara Loewl, who manages a team of 14 agents at the company’s engagement center in Franklin, Tenn., the Loews utilizes off-site staffers 2,000 miles away to handle texts or phone calls. She claims that most visitors never consider to inquire as to who is addressing their questions.
These employees respond to typical requests quickly, such as cleaning or meal bookings, without requiring the hotel’s concierge service. The group is hesitant to reveal their exact location. She explains, “We always say we’re an extension of the front desk.”
The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California has a pool.
According to hotel officials, the trend to texting and automated answers is a result of manpower shortages. Artificial intelligence is used to provide certain services.
Tina Edmundson, global brand and marketing officer for Marriott International Inc. in Bethesda, Md., says it’s “easier to have their requirements fulfilled and less obtrusive.”
According to Ms. Edmundson, the amount of messages received through Marriott’s app increased in 2021 compared to the previous year, forcing some hotels to restructure staff assignments to satisfy the requirements of customers. For the last six years, Marriott brands such as Moxy Hotels and Westin have allowed visitors to contact directly with hotel workers through the Marriott Bonvoy app. Depending on the request, text answers come from a combination of hotel employees and automated responses.
Tracy Shaw was looking forward to “getting away from it all” on a weekend vacation to Mexico, even if it meant chatting to the hotel employees. Instead, the Encantada hotel in Tulum allowed her to text them.
Ms. Shaw, a 45-year-old marketing manager from Tampa, Fla., used WhatsApp to order morning coffee on her terrace, strawberry margaritas at the beach, and predinner tequila shots in her room over the long weekend. She claims that sending SMS was less embarrassing than phoning the front desk. Ms. Shaw, who stayed at the hotel with her husband in December, adds, “This is not something I’d pick up the phone for.” “We had been completely spoilt.”
Tracy Shaw and her husband Steve at Tulum, Mexico’s Encantada hotel. The couple requested concierge services through text message.
Tracy Shaw is shown here.
Cassie Down, a publicist, was pleased to see “Rose,” the hotel’s “resident mischief-maker and digital concierge,” addressing her questions when she checked into the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Ms. Down, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 soon after arriving for her family vacation and “couldn’t turn over to pick up the phone,” was less hesitant to make demands through text.
“When I’m in a good mood, I like to be generous with pals,” Ms. Down claims “Rose” texted her. The bot assisted Ms. Down in arranging for two nights of pizza dinners and a tube of toothpaste to be delivered from the sundries store below, as well as relaying Ms. Down’s request for additional towels and tissues to be placed at the door. Ms. Down, 30, from San Diego, adds, “Honestly, she was very elegant and smart.”
Susan Harrison, a real estate broker, spent the New Year’s weekend at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., texting with “Johnnie Brown,” a computerized spider monkey. Ms. Harrison, who resides in New York, appreciated that every communication she received was signed with a cheerful monkey emoji. Her questions regarding Advil, workout classes, and dinner reservations were quickly answered. She was guaranteed that she would be “placed at the winning table” after arranging a table for eight people.
While staying at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California, Andrew Gallery went for a trek.
The hotel, which has had the monkey as its mascot since 2016, claims that guests like the convenience of texting, which it began providing in 2020.
Medallia Zingle, a text-messaging program, is being used by Hyatt Hotels at over 1,000 hotels in 68 countries. According to Julia Vander Ploeg, Hyatt’s global director of digital and technology, employees are urged to demonstrate personality by utilizing emojis or funny language wherever feasible. Bottled water is the most often requested item.
Concierges at the Pendry Chicago text visitors by their last name and a title, using signoffs like “at your service” and double-checking for mistakes. According to concierge Alex Yu, emojis and casual greetings are essentially prohibited.
Some visitors confess that they miss the small conversation. Rich Burt, a retired audio engineer from Orlando, Fla., recognized he needed more than efficiency after utilizing SMS to organize rides inside the Resort at Paws Up, a 37,000-acre luxury ranch in Greenough, Mont. Although the three-word SMS he sent to his driver were handy, he likes to call and speak about his day. “I’m more traditional,” he admits.
During his visit at the Resort at Paws Up in Montana in September, Rich Burt took part in a cattle drive.
Rich Burt (photo)
Ivy, an AI-powered concierge designed by Raj Singh, is utilized at 3,000 hotels. Approximately half of hotels, he says, provide texting services. Mr. Singh, who is now the chief strategy officer of Revinate, a San Francisco-based hotel software company, says messaging with Ivy should feel like texting with a fun, in-the-know buddy.
Even the most advanced chatbots, though, can’t answer all of your questions. “Actually, this could be a strange question…,” says one recent example. “Are the bathroom windows visible from the outside?” That inquiry was sent to a person by Ivy.
Alina Dizik can be reached at [email protected]
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The “hotel cleaning robots” is a text-based service that allows users to book hotel services. However, the service is run by a texting robot. The bot will respond with an automated response, which can be confusing for some customers.
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