As hotel occupancy levels climb back towards pre-pandemic levels, the sector is turning to AI technology as it faces challenges to fill contact center and customer service vacancies, while bracing itself for a significant increase in call center contacts and customer service requests, according to conversational AI specialist NLX.
Conversational AI technology is being deployed to navigate potential customer service hitches, help address the increase in customer service needs and keep call center workloads manageable while staffing shortages abound. According to Global Market Estimates (GME), AI in the hospitality market will grow with a CAGR value of around 10 per cent over the next five years.
GME’s report also suggests that the North America AI in hospitality market share dominated the global demand for the technology and accounted for over 50% of deployment in 2020.
New York-based voice AI specialist NLX, which has significant experience in the hospitality sector, has created a suite of frictionless and automated multimodal customer service solutions to help hotel operators ease their guests’ stay experience.
In doing so, NLX is addressing issues faced by companies, who may be facing a challenge in finding people to employ in contact centers and in front line customer service roles. This reinforces the need to automate and encourage customer self-service because the low rates of staffing equate to longer wait times and diminished customer support experiences.
NLX CEO and co-founder Andrei Papancea, explains: “We are hearing from hotel operators that the employees they shed at the start of the pandemic are simply not returning as business is picking up. Even if they are able to recruit and hire new staff, there is a long learning curve to get those staff up to speed.”
“Conversations by NLX offers hotel and accommodation operators automated customer self-service solutions that guests can use to handle an array of travel issues, minus the stress. By bringing tasks that normally require live-agent handling into a conversational AI application, NLX enhances the overall customer experience through automated and personalized voice guidance.”
The NLX system is also plugged into systems that provide information on regional travel restrictions, for example if impacted by Covid, as well as weather systems and other natural occurrences. This provides a hotel customer with the chance to access this information available in real time on the hotel’s website or mobile app.
In addition, with so many systems in a hotel forming part of the hidden cost of staff turnover, NLX technology can be used to train and onboard new staff on the many systems they have to use as well as providing a learning tool for existing trained employees as systems are upgraded or change.
Work is advanced on creating pre-integrations to all the popular Travel & Hospitality system providers to offer an almost turn-key solution, enabling clients to initiate a connection of the systems through use of an API Key.
“Our aim throughout has been to make this a very user-friendly experience for hotel operators,” continues Papancea.
“By offering real time analysis and outcome tracking, the technology can lead to rapid response for new issues, where deployment in hours or days and not weeks is key. This ability to identify new flows and give a clear sense of traffic handling can be very valuable.”
“The set-up of the automated message is just like doing a drag and drop. You just create or select the message, select which of the dynamic flows you want to map and that’s it. It can work in any type of language; we only have to set it up once and it can be instantly replicated in other languages. As of now, for chat, we support a little over 50 languages, and then with voice, it’s between 10 and 20 and depends on the use cases.”
NLX technology also enables cross-selling and up-selling of services in a self-service hotel environment, if the Hotel has a defined path in place. This can include cross-product selling such as Room + Spa or Room + Restaurant reservations, for example, driving additional revenue for the hotel.
Conversations by NLX enables comprehensive build, manage, and monitoring functions for non-technical users, while Voice Compass by NLX leverages the full strength of the NLX platform to create multimodal self-service customer wins.
NLX is an Amazon Advanced Technology partner, an Amazon Travel & Hospitality competency partner and is one of the first AWS Conversational AI partners It proudly works with Amazon Connect and Amazon Pinpoint to optimize the customer experience.