Sci-fi movies and recent advancements in technology have sustained a  fascination with Artificial Intelligence (AI), and businesses are keen  to integrate Artificial Intelligence into their processes. But before we  discuss AI applications in the hospitality industry, let’s look at the  current AI landscape.


Right now there is a lot of confusion over the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’.

When the term was coined, it referred to a human-level kind of  intelligence, the kind of AI you are likely to see in movies such as  Jarvis or Friday in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This level of  intelligence is the holy grail among AI scientists and is now commonly  known as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

But what most of us are seeing right now is known as Artificial  Narrow Intelligence or, to put it in a more layman term, is “smarter  automation”. Why smarter automation? Because the current level of  technology allows agents, software or robots to perform well in a  specific task in a stable environment. For business folks, this means  better tools for automation.

The hospitality industry can potentially exploit these smarter  automation tools to reduce the pressures brought about by the current  human resource crunch.

Potential Areas

But how should the hospitality industry determine which areas or processes can be automated?

The first consideration goes back to business value. Hotels and  resorts have to ask the critical question, “Is a human touch needed?” If  the answer is “No,” then perhaps they can explore AI for automation.

Let me give an example. I have observed that some hotels have  replaced their check-in with a computer agent, instead of a human  receptionist. As a traveler, if I am checking into a high-end hotel, I  will expect the “human touch” of a receptionist because I might have  tons of other questions to ask, such as where breakfast is served, or  make a request for a room with a nice view. If, however, I am checking  into a budget hotel, perhaps the computer agent will suffice.

Another example is having a robot cook an omelet in the hotel. If the  hotel is high-end, most guests will prefer their omelet to be prepared  with a human touch.

In short, non-guest-facing processes such as hotel security or  facilities sanitization can potentially be automated further, but hotels  and resorts should consider carefully the need to automate guest-facing  processes.

Failure Alert

One of the biggest failures of AI projects is that they cost a lot more than the value they bring.

To assess whether or not a process can be automated with AI, it’s  best to have an AI professional who has the technical knowledge,  experience and some business knowledge. Each project is unique, and it  takes a trained and experienced person to determine if automation is  possible and if the cost of implementing it is worth it.

Adopting AI is only the start. There are costs of maintenance to  consider, which can be time- and money-consuming, not forgetting that  the hospitality industry’s job is to take care of travelers and guests,  rather than robots and software.

The first AI project will always be the most important as it will  determine if AI will be adopted in other parts of the business. Thus, it  is of utmost importance that the first project pulls through greatly.


I believe the hospitality industry can adopt smarter automation or  Artificial Narrow Intelligence to help ease its manpower crunch.  However, what’s critical is still for it to preserve or increase its  competitive advantage, which is the “human touch” and being able to  exceed guest expectations.

What are your thoughts? Will love to hear from you! You can share them with me on my LinkedIn. Please feel free to link up on LinkedIn or Twitter (@PSkoo). Do consider signing up for my newsletter too. Have a great week ahead!

The post was a collaboration with, a collaboration between me and Raini Hamdi who reports on the tourism and hospitality industry. Do check out here website if you are interested. :)