Automation and ChatGPT Revolutionize Singaporean Hospitality Industry, Enhancing Efficiency and Personalized Guest Experiences

The Singaporean hospitality industry is undergoing a tremendous change as businesses increasingly embrace the power of automation and ChatGPT, an advanced language model. In this interview, Paul Hadida, General Manager, APAC at SevenRooms, sheds light on the remarkable transformation taking place within the Singaporean hospitality industry.

How do you think ChatGPT, along with automation, can specifically benefit Singaporean businesses, considering its widespread use among consumers?

Whether it’s to complete an assignment or plan a holiday itinerary, its potential for consumers is almost unlimited. That’s why it has caught the public’s imagination. However, businesses big and small are beginning to leverage the platform too, and the benefits are tangible. Take a restaurant in Singapore, for example. Understandably, their expertise is related to the delivery of delicious food and beautiful experiences. However, they might not be experts in all the other aspects of running a business like marketing or HR and staffing. ChatGPT can be used to automate processes related to those holistic elements, so the business can dedicate more time to its core offering, and those foundational elements that cannot be automated.

With the ongoing staff shortages in the hospitality industry in Singapore, how can ChatGPT and a broader focus on automation help venues overcome these challenges and enable them to do more with less?

In the wake of the pandemic, consumers have higher expectations than ever. Meeting their expectations can be incredibly challenging when venues are contending with staff shortages. Hospitality is a transient industry, reliant on many foreign workers and short-term visa holders. However, the government has placed caps on the percentage of a workforce that can be made up of non-residents, which can exacerbate the issue. In the face of that, automation enables them to do more with less by streamlining time-consuming processes, so teams can spend more time providing the exceptional experiences guests demand. For example, if they can use ChatGPT to create social media content or draft website copy, and technology like SevenRooms to automate reservations, online ordering and contactless order and pay, they can spend more time providing those meaningful, human experiences that tech cannot – and should not – replace.

Can you provide some specific examples of how ChatGPT and automation have already been implemented in the hospitality sector to enhance efficiency and productivity?

We’re still in the comparatively early stages of ChatGPT, so the majority of examples of hospitality venues using the software is consigned to examples like content creation, social media strategies, formulating responses to online reviews etc. However, SevenRooms works with hundreds of venues and groups in Singapore alone, who are using our platform to automate specific tasks and workflows. For example, Adonis Cafe & Bar in Australia uses SevenRooms to send automated follow-up emails to guests. These hyper-targeted emails resulted in 6.2% of recipients booking their next reservation (~3x industry average), and generated nearly $5 of revenue per email sent (~4x industry average). And through SevenRooms integration with Google Reserve, where many of its guests came from, the team was able to automatically grow its database by 9,000 guests and drove an additional 5,800 covers.

One concern with automation in the hospitality industry is the potential loss of the human touch and personalised experiences. How can ChatGPT and automation strike a balance between saving time and money while maintaining the meaningful, human and personal experiences expected by guests in Singapore’s venues?

Technology should never replace the human connections that make visiting our favourite restaurant, bar or cafe so special. When we talk about automation, we’re not talking about a robot maître d’ or food delivered by drone, though. We’re talking about the back-of-house processes that are incredibly time-consuming, like recording reservations and sending emails. When those can be automated, operators can spend their time greeting a guest by their first name with a warm smile, or taking the time to recommend dishes based on a customers’ previous dining habits and purchases.

In what ways can Singaporean businesses leverage ChatGPT and automation to optimize their operations and improve guest experiences? Are there any specific strategies or best practices you would recommend?

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Venues should identify what problem they’re trying to solve, and then implement technology specifically to suit that need. For example, if a restaurant owner is struggling to come up with creative content or well-written copy for their website, ChatGPT can be incredibly beneficial. But if they’re trying to automate sending personalised emails, recording reservations or using data to better understand their guests, platforms like SevenRooms are hugely beneficial.

As the APAC General Manager at SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform, how have you seen ChatGPT and automation positively impact the hospitality industry? Are there any success stories or case studies you can share?

Our entire guest experience and retention platform is powered by automation, and we’re lucky to work with some of the industry-leading brands across the world, who are pushing the boundaries of innovation. For example, Brotzeit in Singapore was using a multitude of different apps and vendors. They wanted to streamline their technology, so they could automate processes and break down silos. They were able to drive $291KSGD of incremental revenue in one year across four Singapore venues, all thanks to powerful marketing automation tools. Or there’s Altamarea Group, which has 15 venues across the US, Europe and Middle East. They were looking to boost revenue through a focus on takeout and delivery. The group was able to generate over $400,000USD of additional revenue utilising marketing automation tools. Those are just two of thousands of businesses using automation to boost revenue and improve efficiency.

How can businesses in Singapore effectively integrate ChatGPT and automation into their existing systems and workflows? Are there any challenges they should be aware of when adopting these technologies?

Understanding the benefits of automation is the first step, but integrating it is an entirely different process. For larger, better-resources groups with a CIO or CTO, it’s important to understand their current technology stack, and how it can integrate with other softwares and vendors. We intentionally built SevenRooms with an open API (application program interface) so we can integrate with booking channels, payment providers, SMS and voice tools, POS and many other tools. For smaller organisations, or those who require ChatGPT in more rudimentary ways, it doesn’t necessarily have to be integrated entirely. If a venue simply needs assistance crafting copy for its website, ChatGPT can be used in isolation, without full integration. Ultimately, when software integrates and collaborates, it’s better for the business because it creates efficiencies and removes silos.

Looking ahead, what do you envision as the future of ChatGPT and automation in the Singaporean hospitality industry? Are there any upcoming trends or developments that businesses should be prepared for?

ChatGPT continues to evolve and it’ll be fascinating to see its capabilities and use cases grow over the coming weeks, months and years. More broadly, business automation is the future. Technology is evolving at unprecedented rates, which means new trends are too. Ultimately though, in the future there will be very few businesses that aren’t using automation to some degree; including in the hospitality industry. Not only does it drive cost- and time-efficiencies, it enables businesses to provide more meaningful work, where employees are unburdened from tedious, administrative tasks, so they can spend more time on the elements of work that they’re passionate about.

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