Even despite the rate at which digital marketing strategies and techniques continue to be employed, hotelier uptake on artificial intelligence (AI) impact on the industry remains a mystery for most. Even as brilliant technologies like Google AI and Siri are widespread, the revolutionary potential of AI technologies for marketing stays in the shadows. With this fact in focus here’s a brief primer on how AI-powered marketing is already evolving.
AI and the Connected Hotelier
Hotel owners and managers are increasingly aware of the power of guest experience supported by predictive analytics and targeted marketing to increase revenue. However, busy hoteliers consumed with the day-to-day of operations usually rely on revenue managers and the sales departments to “discover” the best tools and practices.
Therefore technologies like Google’s RankBrain AI (as an example) are not immediately thought of when the time comes to plan for tomorrow’s marketing effort. But RankBrain is a fabulous machine learning tool that uses AI to answer user queries. The real power of such tools is only partially tapped because such algorithms can predict guest preferences and behaviors. Before we dive into such fantastic concepts though, let’s look at what AI is.
Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science built on intelligent machines that think and respond like humans. The field of AI is made up of a subset of learning capabilities.
First, machine learning involves AI that enables machines to automatically learn and improve from experience.
Secondly, a subset of AI known as Deep Learning uses massive neural networks and collections of algorithms that mimic human intelligence.
Hotels are now using AI-powered programs utilize something known as natural language processing to power the two-way hotel-guest communicative channel. With these new technological advancements, not only hoteliers, but marketers in every sector of business are gleaning valuable insights about customers, improving ROI by automating many tasks, improving workflows, and so on.
For hoteliers, intent on gaining and maintaining the upper hand with their marketing campaigns it’s crucial to understand how AI will soon power marketing, advertising, and pursuant bookings.
For some years, digital marketers were hesitant to use AI as a facet of their strategies. This was due to a lot of ambiguity as to direction, accuracy, and efficacy. With the emergence of big data, the internet of things (IoT), and machine learning advancement, more and more forward edge teams began adopting AI.
Then, once success stories emerged, visible changes in the industry came to the forefront. Most experts agree that this year AI-powered digital marketing is set to explode because of capabilities like boosting the guest experience, simplifying and improving the booking decision process, uses of image recognition, and contextual content creation. Now let’s look at a few areas where artificial intelligence is already making a difference for some businesses.
Personalizing hospitality is nothing new, but the power of the digital age has reconnected business with customers in ways past marketers could never have envisioned. AI is one of those areas where hoteliers can expect a significant impact for their marketing bucks. Hotels are already using chatbots and other AI aspects to improve the guest experience.
AI can also help hotel marketers through AI-powered content marketing strategies. The way this aspect works is to use AI to assess guest data to determine things like buying behavior and interests, and to apply what’s gleaned toward customized content campaigns to engage past and future guests.
Link to the new article “How to Use Chatbots in Your Marketing Strategy” – if you publish it before this one.
Predicting Your Guest’s Behavior
Current AI marketing relies mostly on things like propensity modeling designed to identify prospects likely to respond to hotel offers. This kind of marketing becomes effective as AI enables hotel professionals to correlate customer characteristics to anticipate behaviors. Marketers use such tools to power Google Ads and Bing Ads and to optimize conversion strategies.
Predictive analytics powered by new forms of AI also allows marketers to extract information from data and uses it to predict purchases, as in the case of Adobe predictive analytics tool. This platform will enable hoteliers to analyze large volumes of data to leverage the most impactful insights. Marketing models can be created using this system and can be applied once data extraction and ensuing patterns are correlated. Also, forms of AI like Adobe innovation can be used to model future marketing and business decisions to further maximize outcomes.
Google’s AMP and the Future of Webpages
Back in October of 2015 Google introduce AMP webpages, which are a lighter version of the traditional webpages designed to drastically improve the performance of the mobile web. The result has been vast improvements in things like page load times and better overall user experience via mobile. Using Google RankBrain AMP displays tailored results to mobile users in places like maps and the News Carousel. AMP pages increase a hotel’s chances of appearing in the top three search results in the same way maps and other facets do.
Hoteliers can get a head start using the AMP Project with tutorials and help supplied here. Basically, AMP HTML is a subset of HTML created for authoring content pages such as “news articles in a way that guarantees certain baseline performance characteristics.” Using this markup for your mobile efforts at marketing and ads is beneficial to users too:
“The AMP Project's goals are to do what's best for the user by helping to deliver fast web pages. Advertising on AMP embraces those same goals by supporting ads that are fast, safe, compelling and effective for users.”
AMP is already achieving widespread acceptance, and to date publishers have created over more than one and a half billion AMP documents hosted on almost one million unique domains.
The Future and AI Powered Content Marketing
Digital marketers who’ve adopted AI are now seeing the value of tools like Wordsmith and Acrolinx to leverage natural language generation (NLG) to transform data into text at any scale and in any format or language. Already Wordsmith has created nearly two million human-like articles across some topic ranges. In the future, hotel marketers will be able to rely on these technologies to emulate companies like Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft that create stunning content using this tech.
The power of multilingual language processing is set to turn automated marketing theory into fact. Soon, marketing departments will be able to produce a vast range of content scaled to target audiences. Although human-like expert content production is years away, the potential for efficiency and cost reduction using AI-powered content distribution is enormous.
AI Marketing Tools and Platforms Are Already Available
Although AI is a relatively young industry, there are already many AI platforms available to satisfy a variety of marketing needs.
Albert, the “world’s first and only fully autonomous digital marketer,” is an enterprise-level artificial intelligence platform for digital marketing campaigns. It understands what is working and what’s not and can manage ads without human intervention, based on audiences, bids, keywords, targeting, domains, and placements, among other data. It also identifies and weeds out fraudulent traffic sources and refines campaigns based on these findings.
Acrolinx is an AI-powered tool that can “read” your content and help you make it better. It currently supports only English, French, German, Swedish, Chinese, and Japanese. It works with Microsoft Word, One Drive, Google Docs, and many other authoring tools.
Drift is “the world’s first and only conversational marketing platform.” It’s like a virtual assistant for your site. It has all kinds of intelligent features, including a chatbot called LeadBot (a sales assistant) that captures your website’s visitor’s contact information, qualifies the lead for you based on the questions that matter to your business, and schedules a meeting. It also has reporting and email marketing capabilities. Drift is also fully GDPR compliant.
Conversica is a fully mature conversational AI platform and AI sales assistant that identifies the hot leads faster via natural, two-way email conversations, so you can focus your efforts on contacting leads who intend to buy.
Here’s a list of other AI marketing tools you could already employ to refine your marketing efforts.
AI for hotel marketing is already creating a paradigm shift in strategies and implementation. AI will undoubtedly take the place of many labor-intensive tasks and operations. For example, chatbots will make a virtual help desk or even room service system a reality. What’s more, as more and more guests turn to their own technology, the integration of AI will enhance the guest experience even further. Soon AI-powered features will become the expectation, rather than the cool desired experiencer. In the back office, marketers can expect to have immediate insights into the best-performing ads or content, and so forth.
Contrary to common beliefs, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will not pose any threat to existing jobs. Instead, the current tasks will merely become more manageable with human intervention required at intervals. For hoteliers, the time to identify the problems and opportunities that can be gained from accurate insights is at hand. Also of interest to marketing teams, AI aspects like dynamic price optimization or automatic selection of ad copy based on the user demographics will be game changers that force adoption of AI.