Talking to humans, especially strangers wanting you to buy something makes most of us cringe. We’ve all gotten phone calls from telemarketers (or even our friends and family) at inconvenient times, thinking “why don’t you just text me so I can get back to you when I’m not busy?” Over the last few years, phone calls have become somewhat of a drag.
Phone calls are just plain obtrusive.
In 2015, JPMorgan Chase offered to eliminate voicemail for their employees and 65% of them took that offer. In 2014, a Gallup poll revealed text to be the dominant form of communication among Millenials. Phone calls are just plain obtrusive. It’s a bratty and typical attitude, but in this age of communication we want things to happen when we’re seeking them out, and not when vendors or businesses want something from us. While digital trends in concierge and hospitality aren’t visible at the fidelity we’d like them to be, we thought leveraging modern technology and modern communication channels to provide a better customer experience was worth looking into.
How we think things should work
Automating the check-in process
There’s no empirical data that I could find on the use of avatars in the resort industry that I could find, but I live in Hawai‘i and am surrounded by humans that work in the hospitality industry. There seems to be a trend in creating avatars for resorts. Could it be because of Disney opening up a resort on the west side? I have no idea, but it seems to be something that resorts are investing in, and it makes sense. If you’ve read any of Scott Mcloud’s books, cartoons or avatars are powerful tools in connecting and empathizing with fellow humans.
Source: Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
We thought we could use some clever programming to augment concierge service to provide a stronger, more relatable brand experience with our Miracle Toucan named Winston. Winston is a consistent branded character that is delightful to customers and helpful in all the ways that we’d wish a concierge could be with prompts from a bot that could be intelligently controlled by resort staff, but with follow up interactions being controlled by a resort concierge staff member. Something like “ Glad you got to your room ok. Were you feeling hungry, adventurous, or in need of some relaxation?” could be an automated response that’s pushed to the guest 15 minutes after they check-in, and if the guest responds they’d be interacting with a concierge human. If the guest doesn’t respond, no big deal. The guest doesn’t feel bad for ignoring a bot, and concierge doesn’t have to do any work.
Blurring the line between AI and human interaction makes each conversation feel authentic
The interface would be simple
No complicated menus or checkout options, because the resort would have the credit card information of the guest and would just need to confirm purchases to the room. The guest could easily make reservations on the go without the need to pick up a phone or go to a desk. Concierge would be making all of the arrangements they normally perform, and could focus on servicing their customers.
Easily making arrangements on the go
Guests could order room service without having to look at a menu or pick up a phone.
Eliminating the need for menus or checkout options
At the moment, this is just a concept, however we are currently pursuing partnerships in developing this product further within the hospitality industry. If you think this might be a good idea, or know someone in the hospitality industry that may be interested in pursuing a better concierge experience, please tweet at us @sudokrew or use our contact form.
P.S. If anyone has an industry or business model they’d like to see our take on, I’m open to suggestions. Thanks to our designer Caity Pizza for putting this concept together and for being a genuinely pleasant person to work with in general :)