Adoption of Robots, Artificial Intelligence and Service Automation by Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Companies – A Cost-Benefit Analysis
Prepared for the International Scientific Conference "Contemporary Tourism – Traditions and Innovations", Sofia University, 19-21 October 2017
9 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2017
Date Written: 2017
Travel, tourism and hospitality companies have started to adopt robots, artificial intelligence and service automation (RAISA) in the form of chatbots, delivery robots, robot-concierge, conveyor restaurants, self-service information/check-in/check-out kiosks, and many others. Despite the huge advancements in social robotics, the research on robots in tourism has been extremely limited – a gap that is partially filled by this paper. It investigates the costs and benefits of the adoption of RAISA by travel, tourism, and hospitality companies (hotels, restaurants, event organisers, theme and amusement parks, airports, car rental companies, travel agencies and tourist information centres, museums and art galleries and others). Specifically the paper looks at how RAISA influence the competitiveness, service quality, human resource management, service operations processes and standards, hospitality facilities layout, operating costs and revenues, and investigates the conditions under which the adoption of RAISA would be of benefit of the company. The paper acknowledges that the adoption of RAISA is dependent on the labour and technology costs, customers’ readiness and willingness to be served by a robots, cultural characteristics of both customers and service providers, the technological characteristics of RAISA solutions and other factors. The paper elaborates on the practical challenges to be faced by tourist companies when introducing RAISA (e.g. related to resistance to change, reengineering of service processes) and provide recommendations to both tourism companies and robot manufacturers how to deal with these challenges.
Keywords: Robots, Artificial Intelligence, Service Automation, Self-Service Technology, Tourism, Cost-Benefit Analysis
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