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  • Writer's pictureBernhard Lermann

Automation of guest inquiries with AI

How digital tools can be self-explanatory and highly efficient for hotel businesses


Hostz offers hotel and serviced apartment owners the option to outsource parts of their operations, utilising the most innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to provide excellent guest experience and services. With four hotels and 150 serviced apartments in Switzerland, and a fifth on the horizon, hostz is at the forefront when it comes to technology-driven hospitality management.


Embracing a state-of-the-art tech stack, hostz uses Apaleo as their property management platform. They are among the first to test and implement ailean, a pioneering operational AI that is fully integrated within Apaleo and not only communicates with guests 24/7 in multiple languages, but actually will be able to execute front & back office tasks based on communication. We are happy to share their journey of a completely AI-driven digital transformation.


Nach ihrem Abschluss an der EHL und der Vertiefung ihrer Kenntnisse in der traditionellen Hotellerie, erhielt Sofia Strahl die Möglichkeit, Mitgründerin und CEO der Hostz Hospitality AG zu werden.
After graduating from EHL and honing her skills in traditional hospitality, Sofia Strahl was offered the opportunity to co-found and become the CEO of hostz Hospitality AG

Challenge: High volume of guest interactions

The team at hostz faced the challenge of managing over 60,000 guest messages annually, with 80% of these being repetitive or slightly varied queries that, although minor, still required human attention. CEO of hostz Hospitality AG Sofia Strahl explains: "We needed a solution that could handle the high volume of guest interactions efficiently, while delivering consistent quality of service and freeing the teams’ time to focus on more complex cases. This led us to explore AI-driven solutions."


Sofia’s vision for hostz is clear: enabling hoteliers to create unforgettable onsite guest experience through providing them with tech-driven, digitised guest experience tools and services.


Solution: Operational AI to communicate naturally with guests

By integrating AI through ailean into their daily operations, hostz aims to provide personalised, prompt, and efficient guest communication while significantly relieving the reception team from answering repetitive inquiries. With the new integration to Apaleo, ailean will also be able to perform repetitive tasks like address and booking changes, check-in/out requests, and support inquiries. Ailean's capability to understand the guests' needs and derive the right actions from the communication with the guest is groundbreaking. Ailean is the first AI which is able to handle a big variety of tasks currently receptions do - fully autonomously with a big impact for the guest and hotel.


Making AI effortless for your hospitality business

Developed by Coding Mind AG in Switzerland, ailean is the brainchild of Dr. Florian Krausbeck, a Computational Physics expert, and Alexandros Tyropolis, a hospitality and real estate entrepreneur. They quickly realised that they can bridge the gap between a “funny to use” tool like ChatGPT to an AI capable of executing tasks within the industry, making digital tools self-explanatory and highly efficient for hotel operations.

 "The product has to be so easy and low effort to use that no company-wide technical introduction is needed," says Alexandros. "Generally, companies still struggle to evaluate how 'digitalisation' fits into their business, and suddenly AI comes around the corner. People are not ready for another challenge yet, but they are happy to use digital tools if they are usable with extremely low effort. That is what we are working on." 


The PMS as the backbone

AI-driven solutions like ailean can only reach their full potential when integrated with the core of each hospitality business: the hotel PMS. The future of property management must evolve to support AI innovation, making it easy for hoteliers to integrate advanced AI-driven solutions into daily operations. 


One of the benefits of an API-first platform is the ability to plug in the best third-party tools available whenever you want or add your own. Ailean offers AI to proactively execute any PMS-based task in operations and guest-facing communication. 


“We were excited about Apaleo’s open architecture as their foundation, which allows seamless integration with various tech solutions.” Florian notes. “Apaleo’s flexibility enables us to build and connect whatever we need, without limitations as they have understood that many different teams working on dedicated and focused solutions all coming together in Apaleo will move everyone further than a closed and protective environment.”


Operational AI in action: guest & staff perspectives

For guests, ailean is simply a link in their booking confirmation that opens any communication channel of their choice (WhatsApp, email, Instagram chat, etc.). From then on, guests can chat with ailean as if they were directly communicating with the hotel reception. Ailean understands voice messages and will soon be able to take calls, assisting guests naturally and proactively with simultaneous interactions. Unlike traditional chatbots, ailean is an operational AI fully aware of everything happening in Apaleo and capable of taking multiple actions such as reservation management, invoice handling, adjusting personal details, purchasing add-ons, all based on individual guest communications without being limited to preset options.


For the hostz staff, ailean acts as a first line of defence. The hostz team does not need to worry about the daily communication: If a human is needed, ailean will call a human for help in the ailean dashboard. The reception team can seamlessly take over the chat and, once resolved, hand it back to ailean. This collaboration maximises the potential of both AI and human staff.


Overall, ailean assists with:

  • communicating on various channels in multiple languages, understanding dialects, and voice memos;

  • knowing the hotel's processes, strengths, and weaknesses to communicate and escalate issues accordingly;

  • concierge service & travel assistance during the stay with information individual to guests needs and hotel location

  • translating conversations so all parties can communicate in their preferred language

  • execution of tasks within Apaleo like reservation management, up & cross selling, administrative tasks like invoice changes etc. 


AI is a key part of the larger digital strategy of hostz, integrating seamlessly with their tech stack, including the property management platform Apaleo and automation tools like make.com.


Results: 20% of guest inquiries are automated 

Since implementing ailean and Apaleo, Sofia and her team have seen remarkable results:

  • 20% of guest inquiries are now handled independently by ailean, freeing up significant staff time - and this is just the beginning.

  • Both staff & guest satisfaction is improving, as staff now have more time to handle complex requests.

  • Drastically improved response times, now down a few seconds for answering guest chats. 

Looking ahead, hostz expects to see increased revenues as the ease of booking rooms, upgrading, or opting for upsell services in a conversational and proactive manner removes hurdles for guests. Additionally, reservation changes managed solely by ailean and Apaleo will enhance efficiency, leading to faster scalability for hostz.

"Ailean has transformed how we operate. Our staff now have more time to provide personalised guest service,  and our response times have improved drastically. Partnering with Apaleo has enabled us to integrate these advanced solutions effortlessly.” - Sofia concludes.


Future plans 

Looking ahead, hostz aims to take over 10 new hospitality operations by the end of the year, leveraging AI to drive further growth. Their innovative approach uses AI as the first line of defence, efficiently managing essential tasks and freeing up staff for more complex interactions. Sofia and the team envision even greater efficiency and enhanced service quality through increased automation. Committed to delivering top-tier digitised guest experiences while maintaining cost efficiency, hostz continues to rely on Apaleo and ailean as the cornerstones of their strategy.

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Bernhard Lermann
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