AI Platform Translates Hotel Guests’ Speech Into Actionable Data and Insights

Vocol.ai is Aiello's latest AI platform

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in both travel and hospitality isn’t particularly new – many tech platforms and service providers have been utilizing AI behind-the-scenes for years now. But the emergence and rapid evolution of Generative AI and sophisticated language models have allowed many travel tech players to finally address gaps in the market that previously required such technologies.

This has, inevitably, created a robust yet crowded sub sector within the hospitality industry. 

No stranger to AI and language models is Aiello, a company that was launched in 2019 and is carving a niche with its AI-driven technology tailored for the hospitality sector. Speaking to WiT, Aiello CEO and founder, Vic Shen, discussed the market gap Aiello aims to fill, the focus of their Aiello Voice Assistant, and the distinctive features that set Aiello apart in a competitive AI landscape.

Language barriers and labor shortages

Aiello’s journey began with a vision to address challenges faced by labor-intensive industries, particularly in hospitality. Vic, drawing on his experience at Google, identified the need for language models in providing high-quality, multilingual services. He emphasized the impact on heavy labor industries, stating, “Hotels and hospitality are definitely the one thing which we can address.”

He added, “Most hotels actually hire 50 to 60 percent interns and temporary staff, because they cannot hire full-time during peak hours [due to staff shortages]. But they need to deliver the same quality of service during those peak hours. How do you train interns and students to match the same quality of senior staff?”

The focus on labor-intensive sectors extends beyond cost reduction. Vic emphasized the aim to ensure consistent service quality during peak hours and labor shortages, stating, “That’s why you have language technology coming to fill-in the labor shortage gap, which is helping hotels to reduce costs.”

Vic further explained that “If you have 100 rooms, the staff-to-room ratio is usually two-to-one or three-to-one, which means you need to hire 200 people. However, if we can reduce that number of staff-to-room ratio, they can change the business model and profit sooner.”

While Aiello’s AI platform is a pivotal part of its workflow, data is at the core of its service. The two-way platform translates voice-prompts into actions using advanced language models, and it also stores that data for filing and future use. The aim, Vic says, is to cut the entire process short for efficiency. 

“Customers send emails, they make calls to the hotel, they have conversations with staff – all that becomes raw data,” explains Vic. “And when you have so much raw data, you need to spend a lot of time putting it into a CRM. Larger language models address that problem.”

Aiello CEO and Co-founder, Vic Shen, on the company's new AI platform: “AI is just a component the software. Application is the most important.”
Aiello CEO and Co-founder, Vic Shen

Data, insights, and lengthy conversations

Aiello’s technology is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Vic detailed the three components of their product suite: AVA, the voice assistant; TMS, the Task Management System; and Vocol.ai, designed for handling and transcribing voice conversations to text with complicated language metrics. These components work in tandem, providing an integrated solution that aims to ‘understand’ hotel guests the way a human staff member would.

Vocol.ai, in particular, can transcribe, summarize,​ identify key topics of the calls, interviews, meetings, podcasts and online courses for you effortlessly.

“AVA is a conversation engine,” explained Vic. “TMS is very similar to recommendation systems or help desk systems, but the difference is in the average request from AVA, they can use AI to understand what the user is asking and send a ticket into our Task Management System.”

Vic added, “You can design the process flow – what kind of ticket should the system create, who should take the ticket, how long before the ticket is escalated?”

“For Vocol – this product is actually helping you record and create transcripts, and then file the actionable item. And it can analyse audio, video calls, texts and even emails and PDFs.”

The goal, according to Vic, is for the Aiello suite to capture the tone, meaning, inflection and objectives of lengthy conversations via Vocol.ai’s large language model. Unlike transcription services, Vic explains that the way people say things matters as much as what is said. These parameters are converted into text-based data and insights. 

“Larger language models are very different from previous models. They try to find out as much information as you want because the language model has been reading billions of data points.”

Finding an edge in a crowded AI market

The real value in Aiello’s workflow, as Vic highlighted, is in transforming raw data into actionable insights for hotel operations, customer preferences, and streamlining tasks. This, he believes, sets Aiello apart from standard data analytics tools.

With the surge in AI players post-ChatGPT, Vic also acknowledged the competitive landscape. He stressed, “We provide the entire platform that hotels need, rather than just provide software.”

Aiello’s strategy is vertical integration, focusing on the hospitality sector, making their solution more tailored for industry-specific needs. Vic anticipates that as the market evolves, Aiello’s solution will become a standard reference for upcoming players.

“AI is just a buzzword, right? “asks Vic, confidently. “It’s just a software and the software is helping you do the operations, software is helping you to upsell, but we got to have people who are willing to start using that software.”

“AI is just a component of the software. But application is the most important.”

Still, selling an AI-driven service isn’t without its challenges, no matter how buzzy the word may be at the moment. Vic candidly explained, “Hotels come from an industry with a long-running history, right? The first thing they have to do is accept it (AI), and someone needs to be really willing to start using AI more.”

“They all have SOPs. And when you have your own process, and you want to plug something new in, you have to be able to make sure your staff is trained, too. And are they willing to adopt this technology? That’s the main challenge with putting AI into the industry.”

Growing in 2024

Vic discussed the year ahead, stating, “2024 will be very critical for us for growth.” Having laid the groundwork in Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, Aiello is now poised for expansion. Vic sees 2024 as a pivotal year to capitalise on the initial successes and establish Aiello as a key player in the global hospitality tech scene.

“This is the moment for us to start growth,” said Vic. “I think that growth will be very, very important for us in the next year.”

Source: WebinTravel

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