Kirill

Blockchain enthusiast developer and writer. My telegram: ksshilov

Booking with AI and blockchain tech: Hotels of the future?

We, as humans, love to be pampered. We love having our needs met, we love to feel special in our own ways. Modern hotels can get that right if you visit the same one over and over, getting to know the staff, and hope that they remember you; but when you stay at a different one, that slate is wiped clean. Sure, you’ll get a smile and the usual “have a great stay!” mantra no matter where you end up, but what if you could bring a record of all your preferences, your desires, your needs with you? Better yet, what if someone (or something) else did the heavy lifting - alerting each new hotel to exactly how your stay should be? We all have smart companions on the devices we carry in our pockets, so isn’t it time that tech is pushed into the travel aspect of our lives?

The current AI-infused hotel landscape

Artificial intelligence was a huge buzzword not too long ago, and companies were working tirelessly to integrate it into everything. Some companies went a bit overboard, sure, but through all the hype the concept stuck - whether you realize it or not, AI is part of your life if you interact with society. There are many current market leaders in the hotel world that use AI to enhance your stay, but most of it happens behind the scenes, mostly to eliminate human error. 
Source: dilbert.com
Occasionally, AI technology is used for more, though, and it is in these areas where it really shines. Airbnb, for instance, uses AI to personalize the listing that you see. Have you ever noticed that after you’ve booked a few Airbnb’s around the same price, you tend to see that price range first during your next search? The same goes for the types of places you tend to book, random preferences like included amenities, and it even extends as far as how Airbnb hosts interact with their guests. 
Booking.com has a similar AI feature that works behind the scenes to make your entire trip more fulfilling. They focus on what you’ll do during your stay, using customer’s potential purchasing intent to book tours and activities ahead of time. These activities can then be accessed by the customer by simply showing up at the venue and scanning a QR code. All of these activities and tours are arranged through AI protocols, getting smarter every time you utilize them.
Artificial intelligence isn’t just helping customers, though, as it also has huge applications for business owners. Allora is a company that guarantees a 25% increase in direct revenue by streamlining a hotel’s booking experience. Quite a lofty goal, but they have been in business for many years and more importantly, the AI to back it up. Allora combines an array of chatbots, machine-learning algorithms, recommender engines, and network intelligence insights to push their hotel client’s booking rates and upsales up.
All of this is being done by a technology that was just a media buzzword not too long ago, which begs the question: what will blockchain do once it is no longer purely hype? Artificial intelligence has proven itself time and time again, and people are no longer skeptical of it. The early adopters, companies like Allora for instance, are benefiting heavily just for realizing the applications of AI before the market caught up. Blockchain tech is the next big hype, so...

Can blockchain tech make AI even stronger?

Some companies are currently using blockchain without AI, and although the results are pleasant, they are nothing groundbreaking. LockTrip, for instance, allows you to book nearly any hotel with cryptocurrency, instantly converting your crypto into fiat for the hotel to accept. Along a similar vein, Trippki encourages you to book through their zero-commission platform to earn crypto rewards while paying in fiat. Although both of these concepts are great for pushing the blockchain technology envelope forward, they probably aren’t going to turn any mainstream heads. 
Source: xkcd.com
For AI to function at full capacity it needs a place to store the information it has learned about you, and what better place than a secure blockchain. Decentralized tech could also offer a way for you to interact with hotels without intermediary companies like Expedia or Booking.com.
When looking at everything that is being accomplished by centralized companies and artificial intelligence in the hotel ecosystem, it should come as no surprise that a blockchain-based company would eventually try their hand in the market. ModiHost is an AI-powered SaaS (software as a service) hotel management system that is hitting a lot of the right notes touched on by traditional companies. While Airbnb focuses on the customer side and Allora focuses on the hotel side of operations, ModiHost is attempting to seamlessly interweave blockchain tech with artificial intelligence to benefit all parties involved. ModiHost works by focusing on three distinct categories: 
  1. Personalizing the client-centric experience
  2. Guaranteeing hotel-centric services through smart contracts
  3. Giving token holders actual incentives to own the token
When everything is scheduled through AI, routines can be optimized, so when an AI learns that guest X doesn’t want their room cleaned everyday, hotel staff doesn’t have to waste time and resources cleaning. Hotels can use the platform to schedule daily hotel operations (cleaning, cooking, laundry, maintenance, front desk, etc.), which has the potential to reduce costs.
Token holders are often viewed as redundant participants that are taken for granted - but it’s not 2017 anymore. Companies have to show real worth, and this is where ModiHost shines for both their investors and their real-world users.
Hotels need tokens to access the services that ModiHost provides, but it would be silly to assume every hotel is going to buy a bunch of tokens right off the bat. Instead, hotels and investors could interact through pools for mutual benefit. Pools are a novel concept. They can be created by anyone and they will act as a lending feature when hotels need to use ModiHost services.
All of these services will be routed through the ModiHost blockchain using smart contracts, and when a hotel uses the platform it will borrow tokens from a pool at a small premium (paying the pool reward) in a rotating order.
In short, pools act as a type of credit system that hotels can borrow from, paying interest to the pool just as you would with a credit card.
When your pool’s tokens are used, the hotel will reward your pool with the pool reward fee. This means that, as an investor, you’ll be earning interest on your return everytime a hotel draws from your pool.

Is it viable?

There are plenty of real-world examples where both AI and blockchain tech succeeds separately in the hotel world. There are also many examples of massive travel companies trying to figure out ways to combine these two technologies together. The TUI Group, for instance, is attempting to create a massive network using blockchain to track all open hotel rooms, while Nordic Choice Hotels is doing something similar to replace online travel agents. 
Only time will tell if blockchain will surpass the hype surrounding its name, but if we look to history for examples then we can be fairly confident that it will do just that. After all, remember when artificial intelligence was just a sci-fi dream?

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