Cloud computing

Supercharging the hotel front desk in the cloud

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Here at Go Moment, we help some of the best-known hotels in the US—including Hilton, Sheraton, Crowne Plaza and Best Western—keep their customers delighted at all times.

Our flagship “Ivy” platform is a virtual personal assistant that engages guests by text message, asking them to rate their experience and offering help or promotions. Ivy parses messages sent by guests and provides intelligent responses. For example, Ivy can understand a request for a wifi password and provide the correct information. Ivy can even respond to requests to book tables in restaurants or bars, automatically handling the booking and confirmation process. And if a guest is unhappy about some aspect of their stay, Ivy alerts front-desk staff so they can step in and solve the problem before it spoils the guest’s whole experience.

By putting the front desk in the customer’s hands, we ensure faster service and better satisfaction levels, which translate into new competitive advantages. We also enable front-desk staff to work more productively and spend less time tediously repeating the same information to multiple guests, or grinding through routine tasks that are better handled by a machine. We know that staffing costs are a major issue for hotels, and we’re happy to state that we automate over $60,000 worth of labor for the typical hotel. That’s because 90 percent of the messages we handle through Ivy are dealt with automatically, keeping front-desk staff free to focus on other tasks.

What makes this cognitive business initiative possible is natural-language processing and artificial intelligence from IBM Watson. It’s an amazing, disruptive technology—but not something that we, as a born-in-the-cloud business, wanted to run as on-premises infrastructure. So the ability to source IBM Watson as a service, running on the IBM Power Systems server platform, is a huge advantage.

The value of our service is in offering timely support to hotel guests, so availability is our number one priority. It’s really important that our customers can rely on our system, because essentially we substitute for—and supercharge—the front desk. That means we offer both hard financial value and soft customer-satisfaction value to our clients. Security and reliability are also essential concerns because we’re handling customer data, and with some clients now processing credit card orders through Ivy, we also need to ensure PCI compliance.

These requirements around availability, security and reliability led us to IBM Watson on Power Systems. We happen to know that Watson runs on IBM Power Systems hardware, but all that really matters to us is that it’s always, without fail, available. Our clients just want to know that the solution will automate their front desk, keep their guests happy and save them money. And we just want to know that the underlying cloud services will keep working so that we can focus on our business. The Watson services running on the Power Systems platform works so well that we don’t need to know or care about the inner workings.

We’ve consumed a number of services in the past that have not been predictable or reliable. By contrast, it’s really great to see that the IBM Watson architecture has been completely, 100 percent reliable. As we look to exploit natural-language processing even more in the future, having the flexibility to ramp up our processing resources in the hybrid cloud will be a huge benefit. We’re already seeing that a single guest message can end up being represented as 50 data points. By giving our clients the ability to slice and dice their data in even more ways, we will enable them to start predicting their guests’ needs and meeting them before they even need to ask! With the IBM cloud, adding the required compute power is far faster, simpler and more cost-effective than if we were running on-premises infrastructure.

For more information about hybrid cloud solutions deployed by Go Moment and IBM Power systems, read the Hurwitz & Associates analyst paper, “How hybrid cloud services solve five critical challenges for CTOs.”

And be sure to watch the webinar moderated by Hurwitz & Associates, “5 Key Things Every CTO Must Know About Hybrid Cloud Deployment,” featuring an engaging panel discussion with Raj Singh, Go Moment, and Lief Morin, Key Information Systems.

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