AI-Powered Virtual Concierge Could Automate Tasks

A new Ohio State University study suggests AI as a solution to changing hospitality needs

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor

May 31, 2024

2 Min Read
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AI could reshape concierge services, a new study from Ohio State University has found.

The study looked at the potential role a virtual concierge could play in the hospitality industry, combining natural language processing, behavioral data and predictive analytics to provide enhanced human-AI interactions. The team said theirs is the first work to introduce the concept.

The team said it could automate routine tasks and anticipate customer needs by rolling the tech out across service sectors, improving customer experience and alleviating pressure on staff.

“The traditional service industry uses concierges for high-end clients, meaning that only a few people have access to them,” said Stephanie Liu, lead author of the paper. “Now with the assistance of AI technology, everybody can have access to a concierge providing superior experiences.”

With the younger workforce gravitating towards travel and tech-oriented jobs, Liu said using AI could also support changing demands within the hospitality sector

“The development of AI technology for hotels, restaurants, health care, retail and tourism has a lot of potential,” she said. 

According to the study, the service could take one of four possible forms; a ChatGPT-style chatbot, a virtual avatar, a holographic projection, or a tangible robot with an AI chatbot installed on it, with this latter option also able to assist with physical tasks such as carrying luggage.

“Different companies are at different stages with this technology,” said Liu. “Some have robots that can detect customers’ emotions or take biometric inputs and others have really basic ones. It opens up a totally different level of service that we have to think critically about.”

While more research is needed before the tech can be rolled out on a wide scale, Liu said researchers should consider how certain factors may impact a customer’s reaction to the service. 

These could include the perceived gender or voice of the concierge and how to maintain customer privacy when dealing with personal and financial information. 

This article first appeared in AI Business' sister publication IoT World Today.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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