24 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2023 issue 4

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Leisure Management - Forward thinking: AI


Forward thinking: AI

How are spa software suppliers embracing AI? And what are the benefits for operators? Katie Barnes takes a closer look

AI chatbots and natural language processing are two key innovations photo: shutterstock/ metamorworks

Frank Pitsikalis
Frank Pitsikalis / photo: Agilysys

With more consumers searching for and booking things via natural language, Agilysys is working on a natural language interface to respond to text or voice data.

Our Service product already allows guests to liaise with staff and/or an automated chatbot for common service and information requests, but this new functionality will allow guests to conduct a full natural language interaction which will sounds something like this:

• Guest: “Do you have a 60- or 90-minute Swedish massage available at 2.00pm with a male therapist?”

• Ask AL: “I don’t have a 2.00pm treatment, but I do have a 3.30pm, 90-minute Swedish massage with a male therapist. Would you like to book that?”

We currently use AI for optimal service mix and placement, so unsold gaps are not left scattered in the schedule. The Agilysys Digital Marketing solution also provides powerful capabilities to ensure content is served up to guests, based on what they have or haven’t booked – suggesting additional individualised options to a guest before they arrive, for example.

However, the most profound benefit of AI currently available in Agilysys Spa comes via its Dynamic Pricing and Dynamic Availability revenue management features.

Depending on demand, Agilysys Spa can either change the price of a treatment (by a percentage or fixed amoun

t) or simply make the service unavailable (dynamic availability). Dynamic availability is preferred, as it simply turns off less profitable services during peak demand periods in real-time. The result is an optimal mix of services booked which yield a much higher profit overall, without changing the published price.

Agilysys is working on a natural language interface to respond to text or voice data
Thomas Rössler
Thomas Rössler / iphoto: TAC

TAC uses AI for dynamic pricing for spa admission tickets/passes which is hugely beneficial for operators who are looking to maximise profit margins and increase revenues.

Using AI, price adjustments are calculated depending on the number of checked-in visitors compared with the same calendar day, over the past five years.

In addition, AI in TAC’s software looks at weather types and correlates these with bookings. Prices can be increased by 5 per cent when heavy rain is forecast or temperatures are freezing, knowing that demand will be higher during those times.

Spas can choose how many days elapse before selected date/price adjustments take effect, to ensure weather forecasts are reliable.

AI in TAC’s software looks at weather types and correlates these to pricing
Craig Griffin
Craig Griffin / photo: Journey

Journey is leveraging data, analytics, AI and automation in its booking experience to provide hyper-personalised journeys.

We can tailor marketing to individuals at the right time, the right place and through the right channel to increase the propensity to book.

Generative AI also allows us to display pictures during the booking journey that hook into a certain client’s aspirations or needs.

We can augment existing imagery with details that are not only relevant to the guest but also other contexts, such as the seasons – adding a Christmas tree to drive festive bookings, for example. In the most extreme cases, Journey can even use AI to create relevant imagery from scratch, which is indiscernible from the real thing.

All this helps increase guest conversion, average booking values, Net Promoter scores, satisfaction and relevance of results for customers.

Generative AI allows Journey to display images that hook into a spa client’s individual aspirations or needs
Ricky Daniels
Ricky Daniels / photo: Trybe

Trybe’s intelligence simplifies staff management and enhances the customer experience by designing the booking process in a more intuitive way.

When booking a treatment or package, guests are only offered dates and times linked to the live availability of the treatment specialist.

This minimises white space and gaps in the calendar to help maximise property revenue and relieve staff of manual booking tasks – it’s our most beneficial component for spa teams by far.

In the future, we’re looking to add other AI functionality to enhance the journey between booking and treatment.

Consumer-facing tools such as chatbots are also on the horizon, further removing manual tasks that tend to be dealt with by spa teams, while still improving the customer experience.

Consumer-facing tools such as AI chatbots are on the horizon for Trybe
Trybe uses AI to minimise manual booking tasks / photo: shutterstock/Robert Kneschke
Dheeraj Koneru
Dheeraj Koneru / photo: Zenoti

A couple of our AI applications really make a difference. One is SmartBot, a 24/7 AI chatbot Zenoti spas add to their website and mobile app. It answers clients’ questions – using natural language processing – and can help book and reschedule appointments or even suggest add-ons.

This feature accounts for around 5 per cent of all bookings.

SmartBot also monitors missed calls and automatically sends an SMS message to conduct an AI conversation to encourage booking.

Another function is our AI-driven dynamic pricing which can potentially account for an additional US$76k of sales a year at top-performing locations.

Our AI algorithms understand what clients are willing to pay and intelligently raise prices when service demand is high. Clients see the usual price and the higher rate, because we think transparency is key to client connection and loyalty.

It’s important to remember that AI needs a very high volume of data to deliver the greatest impact, because there’s more information to learn from and Zenoti has one of the industry’s largest customer footprints.

Zenoti’s SmartBot accounts for 5 per cent of bookings
AI-driven pricing can generate up to US$76k extra a year / photo: shutterstock/Ground Picture
Sal Capizzi
Sal Capizzi / photo: Book4Time

Book4Time meticulously calculates utilisation rates, allowing for analysis of customer traffic patterns based on variables such as the day of the week, time of day, practitioner or overall spa capacity. Once a specific threshold – determined by a spa director – is reached, the system initiates an automated process to dynamically adjust prices based on real-time demand.

This feature is an ideal fit for AI functionality to further optimise revenue generation, resource allocation and overall operational effectiveness.

In the future, I see AI helping spas to analyse large volumes of data generated by software systems to provide valuable insights into customer trends, popular services, and overall business performance.

I also truly believe AI will be incorporated so spa operators can use customer data – including preferences, previous treatments and feedback – to offer personalised recommendations for services to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Calculating utilisation rates and adjusting prices accordingly is an ideal fit for AI functionality

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 4

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