Today, particularly in smaller hotels, that friendly helper is more likely to pop up on your phone as he/she does at The Arrive Hotel in Memphis. “Hi ya’ll,” says the text message (laying on the Southern charm thick). “Please text us if you need directions or anything else. We’ll be glad to help.”
The Arrive Hotel is not the only property using virtual technology to substitute or to supplement the full-time job of “concierge.”
Courtyard by Marriott, for instance, uses an interactive GoBoard, an in-lobby LCD touchscreen where guests can search news, weather, restaurants, flights and other details. Marriott’s Renaissance brand uses its proprietary Navigator technology to help guests find their way around town or do a deep dive experiential journey, with a database culled from the opinions of local experts. If guests want a one-on-one experience a human “navigator” can help, too.
Burgeoning chatbot technology that lets artificial intelligence talk back and interact with customers has led to the creation of a new concierge program called Bebot, a chatbot that acts as a hotel concierge. Its inventors, Bespoke Inc., say that the program “is designed to empower guests through instant, real-time assistance such as exclusive recommendations for both popular and little-known sites in the area, answering questions only hotel staff would know about, or even making restaurant bookings.” Bebop is in use in several hotels in Japan but is making its way to the US soon.
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