LAS VEGAS—There’s no doubt that technology has changed and, in many ways, improved the overall guest experience. From online booking to digital check-in and checkout, today’s travelers are experiencing a level of convenience like never before.
And now, artificial intelligence-powered chatbots are taking the hospitality game a step further by delivering personalized service, enhancing communication and increasing efficiencies.
Always exploring ways to enhance the guest experience, Caesars Entertainment introduced Ivy, a 24-hour virtual concierge service and is now expanding its reach across the company’s portfolio. Ivy is available in more than 6,000 rooms within Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas Resorts, and there are additional rollouts planned for Caesars Palace and The LINQ Hotel & Casino this summer. This month, Ivy made her debut at Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino.
“We initially began researching a chatbot in order to survey guests mid-stay so we could execute real-time guest recovery. The program has since evolved to Ivy being a guest’s virtual personal concierge that is available via text 24/7 for anything a guest needs during their stay,” said Michael Marino, SVP and chief experience officer for Caesars Entertainment. “This technology has allowed us to achieve our goal of elevating the guest experience while improving speed and efficiency within our operations teams, resulting in increased guest satisfaction levels and seamless experiences for our guests.”
Created by Go Moment, the chatbot’s name, gender and human-like characteristics were a key piece of the building process from the very beginning. Using IBM’s Watson-enabled Natural Language Classifier API, Ivy reads incoming guests’ texts and directs them to the correct hotel department.
“Go Moment wanted to create a persona that would be approachable, memorable, hospitable, warm and modern—all at once. Go Moment trusted that the large technology companies had done their research, and a female name also felt natural to their product team. Ivy’s name was a design decision by Go Moment,” said Marino. “Go Moment has been an excellent partner to work with since we initially launched Ivy in December 2016. They have a tried and true execution plan that allows us to launch Ivy at a property with less than a month lead time. The set-up is fairly straightforward with drafting answers to the common questions that we train Ivy on in the IBM Watson platform, setting up user accounts and conducting the on-site trainings for the agents.”
Automation through artificial intelligence is key for Caesars Entertainment’s chatbot given the number of rooms at the Las Vegas properties.
“With Ivy trained around common questions, she automatically responds within seconds to common questions, freeing up our agents to focus on the more complex guest inquiries,” he said. “It would be nearly impossible to handle the volume and manually text with guests in our 40,000 rooms across the United States. The automation through the artificial intelligence gives us the ability to offer Ivy at scale while maintaining prompt responses to incoming text messages.”
Much like snowflakes, if you look closely, each one is different.
“Ivy’s most impressive differentiator is service at scale with the ability to handle multiple guests’ needs around the clock in a matter of seconds. We created a highly skilled team of universal agents in our call center that text guests back when Ivy doesn’t know the answer. In addition, the inclusion of IBM Watson in the platform sets Ivy apart from other chatbots,” said Marino. “The true AI allows Ivy to understand logic and respond correctly to questions. For example, if you ask Ivy what the WiFi password is, she will respond, but if you tell Ivy the WiFi is slow, she knows not to reply with WiFi information.”
So, what’s next? In terms of implementation, scaling the remainder of the company’s Las Vegas properties is the main focus. Don’t look for any chatbots named Fred or Tom—Ivy is here to stay.
“Ivy regularly shows up by name in our TripAdvisor reviews as well for delivering an excellent guest experience,” he concluded.