The Future of CRM, AI and machine learning for hotel marketing – Part 1
Technology has dramatically shifted the way hotels engage with customers. Today’s customer relationship management tools help hotels aggregate guest preferences keep track of interactions across multiple touch points, and craft messaging that resonates at the individual level.
But with so many touchpoints across systems and channels, how can a hotel move in real-time to utilize the data inside their CRM at the moment and context it’s needed with a guest?
The answer lies with artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are breaking new ground at the core of CRM technology. Bots (such as customer chatbots and messaging platforms), combined with AI-driven automations, leverage a hotel’s CRM of centralized intelligence to send the right message, at the right time in the right place.
The “limitless capacity” of artificial intelligence
The Cambridge Dictionary defines AI as “technology that allows something to be done in a way that is similar to the way humans do it” with “some of the qualities of the human mind.”
This definition is a good start, but it equivocates a bit when limiting AI to doing things in a similar way to humans. The more accurate depiction would be that AI is like a team of humans with the limitless capacity to do many things at once in real-time, at a speed far faster than most humans. AI gets more done with fewer resources, all with greater accuracy and better reliability than humans.
This distinction matters, because AI has productivity-boosting potential to improve business outcomes in the hospitality industry. Just over the horizon is a future of 1:1 marketing where each message is automatically personalized based on disclosed preferences and past interactions.
As cloud computing and APIs unlock real-time data synchronization between platforms, AI-driven CRM can continuously update and optimize a hotel’s marketing communications to deliver more of the right messages, at the right time through the right channel.
To do this effectively, next-generation CRM revolves around centralized guest profiles that unite personal preferences and past interactions. This rich profile becomes the single source of truth about a guest’s relationship with the hotel, which helps a hotel achieve relevant, contextual personalization at each touchpoint.
Here’s how the smarter, faster, and more contextually relevant future of CRM plays out for hotels.
Better conversion and segmentation through pattern recognition
The greatest benefit of AI is pattern recognition. It enables organizations to capture customer data, such as brand interactions and buying behavior, to serve customers better. It sees things that even the most astute human won’t. For example, it can be hard to deduce which segments are most likely to respond to specific messaging.
Yet, with AI, it’s possible to identify similarities in how different guests interact with messaging, which can then be used to constantly optimize the messaging/segment match. New segments can also be created in real-time, as the system tests different messaging to find the best between message, segment, and channel.
AI-powered CRM also uses pattern recognition to optimize segmentation and marketing messaging in real-time, resulting in a better experience that also happens to increase conversion. For example, automated up-selling will deliver the most relevant offers to a specific user via the best channel at the ideal time. The resulting engagement will then be analyzed and applied to future communications with that specific user — as well as any relevant segments.
This continuous optimization will all be done in real-time with no manual intervention, creating an automated conversion optimization engine driven by user preferences and actual interactions.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in our series. This article originally appeared in the “Hotel Yearbook 2020 – Digital Marketing” edition.
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