THE CONCIERGE CONUNDRUM
Business Traveler|February 2020
Will artificial intelligence and virtual reality spell the end of the hotel concierge?
GRETCHEN KELLY
Not so long ago, when you checked into a hotel, you could ask to see the concierge to help with plans like theatre tickets, to find out the hottest new restaurant in town and to get directions to the local museums and sites of interest. This individual – who, at the better establishments, often sported a golden lapel pin with two crossed keys would take out a sheaf of maps and make notes for you. On your return from a night at the theatre, you’d see the same friendly face who would ask if you liked the show.

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.

Let’s Chat

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.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BUSINESS TRAVELERView All

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

BEST FOR Oceanfront stays with terrific dining, swimming pools and an expansive beach.

2 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

The Crane Resort, Barbados

BEST FOR Clifftop views with vigorous ocean breezes, exotic dining and all-suite accommodations

2 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

Williamsburg

Chock full of history, this easy-to-reach destination is a kaleidoscope of old and new experiences for everyone

2 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

TESTING 1-2 -3

For now, COVID-19 tests are likely to be part of your travel experience. Here’s your guide to what to look for and where to find it

7 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

ROI FROM THE ROAD

As business travel resets, maximizing value of each trip is a bigger question than go-or-no-go

6 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

New World Travel Order

Your voice today can help shape the journeys of the future

3 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

MIXED MESSAGES

Hybrid meetings are likely here to stay, but are already morphing into something more

6 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

RETURN TO TRAVEL

Travelers and the industry both ask: Are we there yet?

8 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

REMOTE POSSIBILITIES

Digital nomads are being inspired to imagine themselves working from – just about everywhere

6 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

Points of Interest

As post-pandemic travel restarts, your loyalty may be more valuable than ever

4 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021
RELATED STORIES

point that piece! an A to Z guide

All the tricks to maximizing your DIY skills and making old furniture look better than new.

9 mins read
HGTV Magazine
June 2022

Does It Matter If Your Kid Is Popular?

And is that even the right goal? Experts weigh in on the differences between status and likeability and why the latter can put your child on the path to success.

4 mins read
Good House Keeping - US
April 2022

Finding THE REAL YOU!

Embracing the most you version of you isn't always easy. It takes wisdom, practice, and, above all, courage. In the pages that follow, meet women who dared to live a more genuine existence, and let them inspire you to do the same.

8 mins read
The Oprah Magazine
Volume 2. No 2 - 2022

Connie Francis: Fame & Heartbreak Finding Happiness

UNTHINKABLE TRAGEDY HELPED THE "WHO'S SORRY NOW?" SINGER FIND HER INNER STRENGTH

4 mins read
Closer US
March 28, 2022

Locals Only

A cabaret star asks: Can you find yourself without leaving home?

4 mins read
New York magazine
January 17 - 30, 2022

MILLIONAIRE TARANTINO WON'T GIVE MOM A DIME!

HOLLYWOOD hotshot Quentin Tarantino admits being an Inglourious Basterd to his 75-year-old mom, Connie — by refusing to give her a cent of his $120 million movie fortune because she once mocked his writing.

1 min read
Globe
August 30, 2021

THEY PLAY AROUND WITH MURDER LIKE THEY PLAY AROUND WITH MEN

They're hog straddling female animals on the prowl!

3 mins read
Born To Ride Southeast Magazine
November 2020

My First Cat

First Cats. We all have that special very first cat—the one that we had as a child, or perhaps the first one when we had a home of our own. Maybe one found us, and we hadn’t realized that we needed a cat until then. Or perhaps this special cat was a first rescue, first pedigreed cat or first show cat. These are the stories of some of those special cats.

3 mins read
Cat Talk
October 2020

AMAZON HOMELESS SHELTER BOOSTS UNIQUE PROGRAM FOR SICK KIDS

Amazon’s explosive growth over the past decade helped fuel a growing homelessness crisis in Seattle.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #454

We're With Her - Connie Britton

The Emmy-nominated actress, starring in the new Roger Ailes biopic, Bombshell, on saying no to karaoke and what it’s like when your college roommate runs for president.

3 mins read
Men's Journal
December 2019