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Voice assistants in hospitality: using artificial intelligence for customer service.

Buhalis, D. and Moldavska, I., 2021. Voice assistants in hospitality: using artificial intelligence for customer service. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1108/JHTT-03-2021-0104

Abstract

Purpose: Voice assistants (VAs) empower human–computer interactions by recognising human speech and implementing commands pronounced by users. This paper aims to investigate VA-enabled interactions between hotels and guests in the hospitality context. The research positions VAs within the artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) context, disrupting old practices and processes. Smart hospitality uses VAs to support effortless value cocreation for guests cost-effectively. The research examines consumer perceptions and expectations of hospitality VAs and explores VA capabilities through expert technology providers. Design/methodology/approach: This empirical paper investigates the current use and future implications of VAs for hotel environments. It uses qualitative, semi-structured in-depth interviews with 7 expert hospitality VA technology providers and 21 hotel guests who have VA experience. The research adopts a demand and supply approach, addressing the VAs in hospitality holistically. Findings: The findings illustrate the requirements from both end-users’ sides, hotels and guests, exploring VA advantages and challenges. The analysis demonstrates that VAs increasingly become digital assistants. VA technology helps hotels to improve customer service, expand operational capability and reduce costs. Although in its infancy, VA technology has made progress towards optimising hotel operations and upgrading customer service. The study proposes a speech-enabled interactions model. Research limitations/implications: This research stimulates the transformation of hospitality services by using VAs and the development of smart hospitality and tourism ecosystems. The study can benefit from further research with hotel managers, to reflect hoteliers’ points of view and investigate their perception of VAs. Further research can also explore different aspects of consumer–VA interaction in different contexts. Practical implications: The paper makes a significant contribution to hospitality management and human–computer interaction best practices. It supports technology providers to reconsider how to develop suitable technology solutions towards improving their strategic competitiveness. It also explains how to use VAs cost-effectively and profitably while adding value to travellers’ experience. Originality/value: VA studies are often focussed on the technology in private households, rather than in commercial or hotel spaces. This paper contributes to the emerging literature on AI and IoT in smart hospitality and explores the acceptance and operationalisation of VAs. The research contributes to the conceptualisation of VA-enabled hotel services and explores positive and negative features, as well as future prospects.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1757-9880
Uncontrolled Keywords:Hotels, Customer service, Artificial intelligence, Voice assistants
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:36952
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:17 May 2022 14:24
Last Modified:17 May 2022 14:24

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