At the end of 2022, ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot, was launched by OpenAI. If you’ve been on the internet since then, you’ll have seen that ChatGPT and generative AI are hot topics of discussion. Many people have already tested and trialled ChatGPT with amazing, and sometimes humorous results. Experts are predicting that the adoption of AI will be quicker than that of the internet. But what is ChatGPT and generative AI, and how will they impact the hotel industry? In this blog, we’ll dive into this versatile technology. We’ll look into what opportunities and limitations there are for hoteliers, plus, hear what our experts have to say.
*This blog was written by humans, not AI.
What is AI, Generative AI & ChatGPT?
Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term that encompasses any technology that demonstrates intelligence—in simple terms, computers thinking and learning. Generative AI (Gen-AI) is a type of AI that specialises in the creation of new content: for example, music, text and images. Gen-AI can be used in a number of different areas, such as chatbots, creating art and writing songs, blogs etc.
ChatGPT is one generative AI-powered tool that has been trained to have conversations with people, including answering questions as well as asking follow-up questions if needed. ChatGPT took the world by storm at the end of 2022 and quickly hit 1 million users (within 5 days post-launch!). And although there was a slight dip over Christmas, Google Trends shows just how popular ChatGPT has continued to be since its launch. What makes ChatGPT stand out is its ability to answer questions in a complex, creative and advanced fashion.
Earlier in 2022, another popular Generative AI tool from OpenAI, DALL·E 2 was launched, but with a focus on generating images and art. While this technology is also awe-inspiring (with amusing results sometimes too), the immensely widespread possibilities for ChatGPT technology have seen this AI tool overtake in terms of popularity. While ChatGPT is in its testing phase, it’s free to use. But like DALL·E 2, it's expected to start charging for a paid version soon called ChatGPT Professional.
How will ChatGPT and Generative AI impact the travel industry?
When thinking about this question, we asked our experts, but of course, we had to ask ChatGPT too. Here’s what ChatGPT had to say:
“As a language model, I don't have the ability to impact any industry directly. However, I can provide information and answer questions about the hospitality industry, which may be useful to those who work in or are interested in this field. For example, I can explain different aspects of the industry, such as types of accommodation, trends and challenges, or strategies for improving customer service. I can also help with language-related tasks, such as translating or writing marketing materials. If you have any specific questions about the hospitality industry, I'd be happy to help.”
So in summary, Generative AI won’t revolutionise the travel industry. However, it will be able to help reduce the manual work associated with a number of tasks.
What are the biggest limitations of ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is currently still in the beta testing phase. This means that while the technology is impressive and the potential is great, there are still some limitations in the current version.
- 2021 knowledge base: ChatGPT was trained on information that ends in 2021, so it can produce out-of-date results.
- Incorrect or nonsensical answers: Sometimes ChatGPT returns answers that sound correct but they aren’t. It also often repeats that it’s a language model trained by OpenAI.
- Very dependent on question phrasing: Tweaking the wording of questions can produce very different results. ChatGPT may say that it can’t answer the question but with slightly different wording, it’s then able to.
What does the future look like for the hotel industry and Gen-AI?
In the future, ChatGPT and Gen-AI are likely to have a big impact on a number of roles across industries. The ability to almost instantly have information at your fingertips in a conversational form is likely to impact how people search and gather information. It will also help to automate many manual or time-consuming tasks. For the hotel industry specifically, here are some future predictions of uses for generative AI and ChatGPT:
- Automated guest communication and engagement: Already, there is a big percentage of people who like getting instant answers. As this technology is adopted, the expectations around instant service will increase. The accuracy and possibilities for chatbot functionality are huge. This will also reduce manual and time-consuming customer service tasks and free staff up for other, more impactful tasks.
- Improved guest experience and personalisation: The possibilities for AI to instantly provide personalised recommendations for hotel guests are immense. This will have a big impact on the guest experience. Your guests already expect a personalised experience and AI helps make this even easier. However, it will also make this the expected bare minimum too. You can already get ahead of this with automatically personalised guest messaging, USPs and direct booking benefits for your guests using Hotelchamp Convert.
- A new way of travel planning: People have already started trialling using ChatGPT for building travel itineraries. Like the shift to the digital age of travel planning, it’s essential to stay on top of how your guests are booking travel. Sam Howes, Solution Architect at Hotelchamp says: “Hoteliers must learn how to influence ranking in ChatGPT responses, just like how they do so with SEO currently. This requirement will become absolute if they want to stay competitive.”
Advice on ChatGPT from the Hotelchamp team
Stay informed, don’t ignore it. Embrace and adopt from an early stage. Be ready to reevaluate your strategy. — Sam Howes, Solution Architect
Do not underestimate the impact ChatGPT can have on your visibility and exposure! Be open and forward-thinking. Start looking for smart ways of integrating AI across the guest journey as well as onsite. Also find ways of how you can benefit from AI—how to influence your visibility, create brand awareness and strengthen your direct channel! — Helen Skiba, Director of Customer Success
I think it’s a great fun tool and that it can make our lives easier and more efficient. However, the hospitality industry relies on human touch and interpersonal skills. There is a reason why hotels have not swapped to a run-by-tech, like Henna Hotel in Japan or Yotel in NYC. The people are the ones that set apart one hotel from the other—in the end, they all offer a bed. That being said, it does not mean that the hospitality industry can just stay out of the hype. They still need to invest in technology and embrace it to stay efficient and profitable. — Soledad Serantes, Customer Success Manager
ChatGPT is still in its testing phase, but the adoption of AI in a number of different roles and industries will be fast. Now is a great time to start becoming more familiar with the technology to understand how it can help add to your hotel’s offering, make processes more efficient and improve your guests' experience.