AI in the Short-Term Rental Space and What It Means for Hosts
This is a guest post by Yada.ai. Yada’s conversational AI platform automatically answers hundreds of questions your guests might have, from pre-booking all the way through to post check-out, freeing you up to focus on growing your rental business.
Hospitality and travel are resilient industries with storied pasts spanning the farthest reaches of human memory. Their enduring value proposition has always been to provide the guest with a pleasurable and memorable experience that they will happily return to.
For hosts, this means preempting their needs, responding to their questions and requests with immediacy, and making the amount of ‘work’ guests need to do during their stay absolutely zero.
As the world continues to “shrink,” more and more people can visit an ever-expanding menu of destinations. This is driving competition to the max, compelling hosts to turn to other modes of differentiation beyond the traditional location and price mantras.
As the burden on hosts increases, technology, as always, is stepping up again to help them manage the increased traffic and provide an added competitive edge. As the differences between options are becoming marginal, the onus is shifting towards the experience.
According to Gartner Research, 80% of organizations are expecting to compete primarily based on Customer Experience. If this is a glimpse into the future, then the tools powering these better experiences will be front and center in all future stays.
“AI has entered the conversation”
For better and sometimes worse, Artificial Intelligence is already being used in hospitality and flight aggregators, personalizing travel opportunities to guests’ implicit preferences, helping to anticipate what they want before they could even articulate it.
While these applications have helped maximize occupancy, they have done little to nothing to improve the actual experience of the stay. However, with the recent advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI can now go further.
AI can now effectively augment what existing guest support teams can do through what is called Conversational AI. By assuming responsibility for accurately answering and responding to the majority of questions which generally tend to be repetitive. Conversational AI can free up support agents, and staff can focus on the conversations that truly make a difference to the guest experience, as well as support more guests at once. This way, they aren’t stretched so thin and aren’t spending valuable time and effort dealing with mundane tasks. They also are able to answer guests who require more hands-on attention sooner.
AI is already being implemented in many adjacent verticals as 70% of airlines say they are already planning to implement AI as a core part of their customer and traveler engagement efforts.
But is this what consumers really want?
The research is compelling; 90% of consumers say they would like to be able to use convenient messaging and IM (SMS, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.) channels to communicate with companies. The same number of customers consider an immediate response to be an important facet of customer service requests – Hubspot research’
The future is bright as Conversational AI is a genuinely elastic technology – it can scale up or down as needed with minimal and marginal cost. It can be trained “behind the scenes,” studying previous interactions and producing accurate responses based on messaging histories.
It truly is starting to live up to its promise, and guests and hosts may already be checking in and handling a late checkout request with an ever-responsive AI middle-man doing the negotiating.