Nowadays, topics like Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are hot topics for discussion. Thus, it’s no wonder that technology such as ChatGPT has become so quickly adopted by the mainstream. And as content creators all over the internet create noise around it, the virality of ChatGPT is no longer surprising.

Like many other curious tech enthusiasts, our team of hotel tech experts have also explored the capabilities of ChatGPT. We’ve talked to the Hotelchamp team to see how ChatGPT might impact the hotel and travel industries. Read on to find out what experts think ChatGPT can already do to help hoteliers.

Person looking at their laptop screen using ChatGPT.
Hotelchamp experts weigh in on the impact of ChatGPT on hospitality. Copyright: JIMMY ON THE RUN

Hotel tech experts’ first impression of ChatGPT

As tech lovers, our team immediately found ChatGPT’s capabilities impressive.

I heard about it on social media in early December. I initially signed up out of curiosity to see what all the fuss was about and I was completely blown away by its (lack of) limitations.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect

Kristian Valk, Founder and CEO at Hotelchamp shares the same opinion:

I’ve used it directly after the initial launch and was astonished by the sheer impact this technology can (most likely will) make on our daily lives!
— Kristian Valk, Founder and CEO at Hotelchamp

Helen Skiba, Director of Customer Success at Hotelchamp recently also tested ChatGPT for the first time. According to her, ChatGPT’s “human”-like responses took her by surprise:

I started asking for personal advice to see how human this conversation would feel. I was very surprised with how quickly, extensive and emotionally intelligent the responses were generated. It was actually really exciting and I did not expect it at all!
— Helen Skiba, Director of Customer Success

Helen wasn’t the only one trying to test ChatGPT’s human-like element.

I heard about ChatGPT through my husband in December. Apparently, it was solving all of his coding questions and giving the best answers. After he mentioned it, I started hearing about it every day. I started using it for job-related questions, but also for a personal use. It actually gave me the perfect answer on how to get my husband to help me with the house chores.
— Soledad Serantes, Customer Success Manager
Person cheering wine glasses with an AI empowered robot.
Hotelchamp experts were surprised by how human-like the conversation with ChatGPT felt.

What makes ChatGPT different to other chatbots?

Traditional chatbots

So far, chatbots have mostly been used in a business context to answer limited frequently asked questions. However, because of their limited capabilities, many people took the first chance to talk to a real person instead. Our team of experts shared this sentiment:

I used a few chatbots in the past on various websites and the experience has been very often frustrating. The responses feel “boxed” and limited. Quite often they do not lead to an actual solution or do not fully answer my question. Very often I would run into a dead end and therefore leave the website frustrated, or find a different way of contacting the provider (e.g. email, phone). (...) However, looking at the capabilities of the ChatGPT, I can see how this is revolutionary.
—Helen Skiba, Director of Customer Success

Hotelchamp’s Solution Architect, Sam Howes agrees.

The chatbots I have used in the past are generally purpose-built for the service or product I have engaged with. This means they don’t have the intelligence to assume external factors when generating a response. The output scripts of the chatbot are often pre-defined meaning the responses are confined and ultimately frustrating if you are not asking questions it wants to hear.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect
person looking frustrated while using their laptop.
Traditional chatbots can be frustrating and lead to unanswered questions and dead ends.

How ChatGPT is different

ChatGPT is, however, not programmed to give bespoke answers and has no human-intervened education like traditional chatbots. As a result, ChatGPT can create more natural and informative conversations. Nareh Torosian, Product Owner at Hotelchamp agrees that the technological aspect of ChatGPT is what differentiates it from other chatbots.

It is trained on a massive amount of text data and has a deep understanding of human natural language. This gives it the capability to generate human-like texts, in a very wide range of industries and fields—from content generation, to help centres to eCommerce and software development.
— Nareh Torosian, Product Owner

Can it replace the ‘human touch’?

A more human-like element and responses no longer limited to a pre-defined set of responses. This is what makes ChatGPT cultivate a more natural flow of conversation. But does this decrease the need to reach out to a “human agent”?

With chatbots being introduced in customer service environments globally over the last 6 - 7 years, we did not see a reduction of human customer service representatives but rather an opportunity to create a better customer experience.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect

Sam then explains that this is because of the swiftness with which queries can be answered by the chatbot. However, chatbots have still been acting as mediators between the user and the customer service representative. Traditionally, the need for a customer service representative was still necessary. This was to understand and clarify complex questions or fulfil the desire for a “human touch”, regardless of waiting time.

Hospitality is a very human-centric industry. As a result, our experts do not expect ChatGPT to take the place of a human just yet:

I think it’s a great fun tool, it can make our lives easier and more efficient. However, the hospitality industry relies on human touch and interpersonal skills. 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

Reflecting on his own experience working in customer support, Sam suggests it takes more than just answering questions. Certain human behaviour and language that could suggest traits about the user might be overlooked by ChatGPT.

From what I have seen, ChatGPT will understand your question, it will give a well-structured and digestible answer whilst delivering it in natural, comfortable language. Consequently, I believe it does have the capacity to replace customer service teams, but not entirely.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect
Person taking notes and chatting on the phone
Experts don’t think ChatGPT is ready to fully replace the “human touch”.

The importance of ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a versatile and powerful tool that can help hoteliers enhance the guest experience through interactions, translations and automation of repetitive (and therefore expensive) tasks.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect

In addition, learning to use these technologies can complement human beings by improving work efficiency.

We can use these technologies to our advantage and to improve our work efficiency, delegate some of the more manual and “mechanical” work, and focus more on where our brain power can add real value, impact and advantage.
— Nareh Torosian, Product Owner

How can hoteliers use ChatGPT?

At this stage, it is safe to say that ChatGPT still has undiscovered potential.

We have yet to learn what questions to ask, how to ask those questions to get more valuable answers and in what areas we can use and get value from ChatGPT; there is still a huge undiscovered potential of this technology.
— Nareh Torosian, Product Owner

However, the best place to start is at the beginning:

As a beginner, ChatGPT is a good idea/hint generator, and not the ultimate source of information or answer to your questions.
— Nareh Torosian, Product Owner

To generate ideas, an excellent way to start is by asking simple questions:

I began by asking it obscure, random questions e.g. Can you tell me the difference between an oak tree and a fig tree? It really felt there had been thought in the response through categorizing comparable elements rather than just feeding back generic bullet points.

I then began asking more elaborate questions that support my day-to-day work. This is where I found some of the best use cases; e.g. “Can you give me the CSS which would turn the background blue if the mouse hovers over an element”. I was pleased to learn that the guidance provided was correct, and I was even able to troubleshoot in the same conversation if something wasn’t perfect.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect
A snippet from a conversation with ChatGPT.
ChatGPTs own take on how it can help hoteliers.

How ChatGPT will impact the hotel industry

ChatGPt has indeed the potential to ease everyday work. Hence, hoteliers should explore the many ways in which Chat GPT can be used in the hotel industry.

To name a few, I think it will impact the way people search for hotels, it will help guests by ranking hotels based on popularity and will provide a more direct narrative on how the user should book.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect

Innovating the guest journey

Hotel tech experts also think that there is potential to innovate the guest journey. Particularly during the pre-arrival and post-departure phases, AI can help hoteliers provide a better, more personalised guest experience. Think helping guests find tailored experiences, communicating the most relevant information and helping them better plan according to their expectations.

The more tangible and wider impact on guests’ stay will follow, starting with better use of gathered data and information to shape the on-premises experience. This will also involve changes to the property infrastructure, operations and workflow, which means bigger investments by the hotels.
— Nareh Torosian, Product Owner

Hotelchamp’s Director of Customer Success also believes that guest experience can improve during the stay. Particularly, she suggests that ChatGPT can impact guests’ stay depending on the type of hotel and its target audience.

It will be extremely useful for the online guest journey and any digital touch points during the hotel stay—check in & check out, hotel app during their stay. In some hotel segments, it may carry more potential than in others, e.g. city hotels with a strong focus on business guests, budget hotels and hostels. For the luxury segment, I can imagine that it will be more useful for online rather than on-site guest interaction. The online possibilities will help elevate the user experience for the luxury segment, but onsite integration will be less desired, as a very powerful element of luxury lies in human interaction.
— Helen Skiba, Director of Customer Success
Bellboy pushing a cart.
Luxury hotels may not benefit as much from having AI incorporated on their premises.

Providing help for hoteliers

On a more general level, Hotelchamp experts have agreed that there are more areas of impact for hoteliers. One would be for the marketing function. Here, ChatGPT can help with content generation, copy refinement and text translation. In communication and service, hoteliers will also be able to use the chatbot. A good start would be to answer questions and give recommendations in a more natural language and personalised way.

What can hoteliers expect in the future?

The travel industry is due to change majorly in the coming years—and not only as a result of new technologies. AI, emerging audiences (Gen Z), lessons from the pandemic and the upcoming economic downturn will all undoubtedly impact travel. The travel industry is one of the “more traditional” industries in terms of technology adoption. However, hotel tech experts expect that the uptake of AI and ML is inevitable.

The moment, size of impact, and areas it will be impacted are perhaps unknown, yet we can understand that even in our field of hospitality we were already for a long time waiting for outstanding technology to take over (parts of) guest communication like in online and or asynchronous ways. The customer journey of planning a holiday will change significantly as ChatGPT holds great information and is able to share it in a super friendly and easy-to-digest way.
— Kristian Valk, Founder and CEO at Hotelchamp

ChatGPT will impact the way guests travel. However, on a wider scale, also roles and responsibilities in hospitality and beyond.

It is hard to imagine what it will NOT have an impact on. Think about education, health, technology, work processes, etc. And yes, some jobs will change or even become obsolete over time. However, new roles will come to life too and I believe that humans are still critical by developing, maintaining, utilising and even interpreting the output of technologies like ChatGPT.
— Kristian Valk, Founder and CEO at Hotelchamp
A top view of 3 screens and a person writing code.
Humans will still be critical in developing and maintaining the technology behind ChatGPT.

The impact on everyday life

There tends to be a lag between the introduction of new technology and its impact on the wider world because businesses are slow at exploiting new opportunities. That being said, I do see that ChatGPT—and the innovations that follow it—will put immense pressure on people’s way of living.
— Hotel champ's Director of Product.

Hotelchamp’s Product Owner, Nareh suggests that we are still far from fully replacing the human element. However, she believes this technology will help us automate everyday tasks:

I think these technologies will replace more and more of our current tasks that can be optimized and automated, and they will play a bigger (and complementary) role in more of our current tasks.
— Nareh Torosian, Product Owner

The business impact

On a larger scale, we can already see businesses integrating AI and ChatGPT into their core product. Hotelchamp’s Director of Product thinks that this will shift to an even greater level:

I can imagine seeing new products being introduced that were simply not possible before or were prohibitively expensive without a large machine learning team. At the same time, I can see the costs of digital services falling rapidly, from content creation to development and design.
— Hotelchamp’s Director of Product

And with the uproar that ChatGPT has caused, you might be wondering whether it’s here to stay. While it can be hard to predict, it seems that ChatGPT is already challenging some well-established names.

In doing some basic research on ChatGBT and its use cases, the most common phrase I come across is “ChatGBT vs. Google”. If ChatGBT takes Google’s position as the place most web browsing sessions begin, the travel industry will be forced into the same pipeline.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect
People watching a presentation about business development ideas like ChatGPT.
Some businesses are already incorporating ChatGPT into their products.

Don’t get left behind

Technology uptake is faster than ever and the world is transitioning towards more automated ways of providing services. To not get left behind, this is what our experts advise you:

Hoteliers must keep up to date with AI and how it is shaping the world around them. My advice would be: stay informed, don’t ignore it, embrace and adopt it from an early stage. Be ready to reevaluate your strategy.
— Sam Howes, Solution Architect

Director of Customer Success, Helen Skiba also echoes similar advice:

Do not underestimate the impact this can have on your visibility and exposure! Be open and forward-thinking, and start looking for smart ways of integrating AI across the guest journey and also onsite. 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

Thinking about when the best time to start is, the answer is now. Even more so, beginning with ChatGPT early does have advantages:

Any business, technology or service that can be an early ChatGPT adopter (thinking of innovative and disruptive use cases and value that can be generated for customers) can have a very high early mover advantage. In many cases, being an early adopter gives advantages that usually cannot be caught or beaten by majorities that follow.
— Nareh Torosian, Product Owner
Alarm clocks on a table.
Use the advantage of being an early adopter.

Next steps

However, it is important to remember that technology can be of different use to each business. Hoteliers need to stay alert and keep a close eye on tech such as ChatGPT, its development and use cases, and explore where it can add value to their guests and business. Overall, this is not a time to push back, fight or ignore. This technology is here now, and you should make the best and most use of it to your and your guests’ advantage.

I love that Hotelchamp is already on the edge by exploring this revolutionizing technology and seeing if this technology can help on its mission to bring hoteliers closer to their guests. From that perspective, ChatGPT and Hotelchamp share the same innovative powers that enable others to do more, deliver better service, and in a more efficient way than before.
— Kristian Valk, Founder and CEO at Hotelchamp
Jan 25, 2023
Trends and Insights
Written by
Hotelchamp Team