Avoiding AI Risks

Navigating the risks associated with AI in hospitality

Safely beginning your hotel’s journey into AI

At the HOSPACE conference in London in November the resounding advice from the AI panel to all hoteliers was to start their AI journey now, to see what works for them and to benefit from all the advantages that AI can bring. As an AI vendor this was of course music to our ears! The last two years has seen an explosion in the use of AI with ChatGPT leading the way and vendors, like Fourteen IP, releasing products and services to help their hospitality customers.

Amidst the excitement, and there genuinely is real excitement from small independent hotels through the large global chains, there has been a reticence to proceed, or certainly to proceed at pace. It is understandable, after trying ChatGPT or any of the other available solutions and being amazed by the jaw dropping results the mind naturally moves to the potential and then to the risks.

You may have heard about the chat bot set up by a car dealership in California that was trained by users to sell them cars for one dollar (yep $1) or of other Bots telling users where to go in the most pointed of terms or of other bots being radicalised. The thoughts of a guest getting these results is a concern, more realistic perhaps would be a concern that a guest asks for a restaurant recommendation and the bot sends it to your competitor over the road!

These are genuine and quite reasonable concerns. No matter where liability may ultimately lie the damage would be done to the hotel. A ruined vendor (or damaged Tech mega corp) is meaningless if your hotel is in the news for all the wrong reasons. So, what to do? And what about that advice from the AI panel at HOSPACE just a few months ago?

The good news is…

The good news is that the horror stories you hear are due to poor planning and implementation rather than the equivalent of Skynet, wanting to take over the world. Speaking to your vendors you will soon get an understanding of their system, of their ability to ringfence their AI and use only approved data sources, rather than allowing access to the whole world wide web. Get sight of their contracts so you, and your lawyers can see for yourself, how risk is managed and mitigated.

EVA (Evolution Virtual Agent ™) is a PBX Voice Bot with human-like interactions and also a text based chatbot using SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc. EVA 2.0 uses the only large language model designed for customer service over the phone, plus machine learning and human language to answer and handle both internal and external guest calls. We do not allow access to any data sources other than those we allow directly or via API with EVA 2.0. EVA has answered many millions of calls across multiple countries and languages and has mitigations in place for guest emergencies that we would be happy to discuss.

EVA 3.0, which will be available to customers in early Q2 2024 without API integrations and in early Q3 with API integrations (HotSOS, Salesforce, Sevenrooms, etc) uses generative AI and can literally say anything. In a beta test using a hotel web page as the sole data source, EVA 3.0 answered the following questions:

Can I bring my pet Turtle? – EVA “We do not allow any pets in the hotel and apart from service animals, unfortunately a Turtle is not a service animal.”

Are there grab handles in the shower as I am worried about slipping? – EVA “We understand your concern about safety and are happy to confirm that each shower does have a grab handle which will ensure a secure showering experience.”

It is worth noting that this agent was a beta and given no information other than ‘service pets only’ and ‘guest room accessibility, bathtub grab rails.’

EVA came up with secure showering experience itself. EVA 3.0 is restricted to only data sources we, and you, approve such as the hotel website or perhaps a document or data source you use for answering guest questions. If a guest asks a question that EVA cannot answer, appropriate or not, the caller will be redirected to a human.

Any quality AI vendor will be aware of the risks and have mitigations in place and should be able to explain them to you. So you and your hotel can, just like the HOSPACE AI panel recommended, can safely begin your journey into AI, as soon as possible.

More information

For more information visit our Evolution Virtual Agent page and hear examples of EVA in action.

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