Balancing Technology and Human Emotion in the Hospitality Industry

August 2, 2021

As professionals in a fast-evolving and constantly changing industry, we’re called to be agile and innovative, advance with the times, and ride the technology train, yet maintain a balance between the strategic implementation of technology, human emotion, and the essential personal touch.

Technology, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are driving, manipulating, and transforming the travel and hospitality industry and are essential to obtain data-driven research, streamline your daily workflows, property operations, and guest communications, and maximize profits.

These dynamic tools can create great digital experiences for your guests but cannot (and must not!) replace emotional intelligence, human interaction, and the warm hospitality that our industry is known for. This guest-centered hospitality is driven by human emotion and is highly appreciated by guests, even more so during covid travel.

A Warm Smile Goes a Long Way!

For business trips and corporates on a quick overnight stopover, touchless travel and a completely contactless stay may be acceptable, however, the majority of travelers appreciate the social distancing yet still desire a personalized experience with human interaction and a warm, welcoming smile. A fresh plate of cookies or welcome hamper, a bottle of local wine, free tickets to local attractions, and a warm smile on arrival may just seal the deal for a memorable vacation experience, five-star reviews, and repeat guests!

While AI can provide you the data-driven research to analyze your market and personalize the guest experience, it’s important we view AI and EQ as two factors that do not compete but complement each other and go hand-in-hand. We need to stay up to date and innovative not only with AI and advancing technologies, but with our guest interactions, resonating with them on a personal level, elevating the vacation experience beyond expectations, and building relationships one guest at a time.

The Benefits of Technology & Artificial Intelligence

The pandemic accelerated the implementation of technology across the industry and automation is the way forward! Every switch you make from manual to automation gives you more time to focus on the human touch and enhance the guest experience.

  • Vacation Rental Software: A fully integrated PMS allows you to automate your entire process from marketing and customized guest communications to real-time calendars, online booking, and ongoing guest marketing.
  • Reputation Management Tools: Stay up to date with how your guests perceive your brand. Reputation management tools allow you to analyze guest reviews and social media posts, alerting you before it’s too late to repair any damage to your brand’s reputation.
  • Predictive Analytics: Predictive analytics, data-driven research, and machine learning techniques enable you to understand your market and guest expectations making it easy to adapt and deliver a personalized vacation experience.
  • Revenue Management: Revenue management software and technology allows you to accurately price your home with dynamic pricing based on real-time data and market statistics to remain competitive and maximize your revenue.
  • Sales & Marketing: Implementing AI tools and technology to understand your market, booking patterns and guest preferences puts you in the perfect position to build a solid sales and marketing campaign to create personalized vacation packages, offer add-ons and upsells to your guests, and grow your business.

EQ & Human Experience

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is defined as our ability to understand, identify, evaluate, control, and express our emotions. Advanced technologies and AI can process information in a fraction of the time it takes a human brain but ultimately, EQ is required for AI to be successful.

AI has its limits in our industry. The travel industry is about something deeper, a personal experience that has been researched, dreamed about, and envisioned with anticipation. While technology and AI give us the tools and data we need to forecast and build our business, EQ helps us understand guest expectations, deliver high-end service, offer a personalized vacation experience, and increase customer loyalty through relationships.

Finding the Balance

The vacation rental industry has become so much more than a place to stay, we have entered the competitive world of hospitality and guest expectations (and demands!) could not be higher. Finding the right balance between digital transformation and human experience is important for your business.

Implementing new technologies is essential to stay competitive and while technical skills are essential when hiring, soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, conflict resolution, empathy, and emotional intelligence are as critical to the success of your business in a customer-facing industry.

AI may have a high IQ, but these advanced systems are unable to interpret or process the complexity of human emotions. Train your team to be proactive (not reactive) when dealing with the emotions and demands of guests, to understand guests’ needs, expectations, and the value of their vacation.

While for some this is an annual family vacation, for others this is the bucket-list dream they’ve been saving for and dreaming of for years! Strike the perfect balance between AI and EQ with modern technology and AI solutions, and an emotionally intelligent, high-performing team that understands not only the business processes but the needs of your guests.