The Evolution of the Hotel Front Desk: How to Coexist with Technology

Operations Jan 15, 2020

Here at Akia, we are developing a world class communication platform powered by a layer of artificial intelligence. Our goal is to facilitate and improve guest communications, services, and experiences. Now one might ask, “But wait – will your AI completely replace the front desk?”. We don’t believe that AI will truly ever replace a human being with a guest, but it can coexist with the staff and guests. We want Akia to augment the hospitality experience, not to replace it.

It’s 3pm and guests are starting to arrive. It’s busier than usual, but there’s only a team of two staff managing the front desk. There’s a steady cadence of phone calls from guests asking about the wifi, directions, or late-check out availability for tomorrow. You want to answer these calls, but a line is also forming right in front of you. You start to sweat. Before you know it, a guest has already left a bad review on TripAdvisor complaining that they can’t get service from the hotel staff.

We understand that hotel staffers are always busy – there are so many things that could go wrong and they are all happening at the same time! But as travelers and guests ourselves, we come with a lot of expectations. In an on-demand world that we live in today, guests often expect that they can get service instantly at the tap of their fingertip. This is why we believe Akia can harmoniously coexist with hotel staff and guests.


Customer service at the forefront

Hotel staff should be looking at guests in the eyes and not over their shoulders when the phone is ringing. The staff should be fully present and focused on how to create a great experience from guest arrival to departure, and not be worrying about the ringing phones in the background.

Our artificial intelligence system can automatically reply to guest inquiries based on their intent. We’ve found that properties with Akia can reduce calls by up to 27%, so the front desk can spend more face-to-face time with the guests.

Empower front staff to help guests while they’re on the go

We always carry our mobile phones with us, but we are not always at our desks or stations. Akia allows you to service and communicate with your guests even if you’re away from the keyboard with our iOS and Android apps.

Automate and forward tasks to remove bottlenecks

Some might say that the front desk is the heart of a hotel. The command center. The headquarters. And because every guest wants to talk to the front desk, it can become the bottleneck.

When a guest calls the front desk asking for more towels, the front desk staff would have to submit a work order to housekeeping to let them know that this room needs more towels. The additional steps in the chain of communication contribute to the bottleneck that slows everything down.

Akia can intelligently route conversations to the appropriate staff and departments. A guest wants to order room service? A guest wants additional pillows? A guest reports that the toilet is broken? Akia will automatically detect and route those conversations to the kitchen staff, housekeeping, and engineering, respectively.

Collect good reviews and detect negative intent before it becomes a 1-star review

Checking in with guests about their stays can be quite cumbersome. While some hotels opt to call all their guests after the first night of stay, some hotels never hear from guests until they checkout. Understanding whether a guest is enjoying their stay or not is important to managing a strong reputation and actioning on feedback.

Our AI system can detect positive and negative intents from the guests – Akia can automatically encourage happy guests to leave glowing reviews about the property while catching the unhappy ones prior to them leaving the property so management can action and recover based on the feedback.

Ryan Kanoknukulchai

Content Strategist @ Akia