KT's strategy is to become a digital conversion partner using integrated AI capabilities. "We're going to be a hotel DX (digital transformation) business that revolutionizes the entire hotel beyond rooms," Bae Chul-ki, managing director of KT's global business development, told Aju Business Daily.
"KT has the vision to become a business partner that provides not only a room-related service but also an entire AI service such as a reservation management system, a room management system, and a telecom service under the goal of 'Beyond the room,'" Bae said.
KT's AI hotel service that began in 2018 has gradually expanded its presence to be deployed at 40 hotels despite a business caused by a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the company partnered with MVI, a Hong Kong-based company that provides IPTV services to hotel chains, to create Genie Cube, a joint platform that allows customers to control functions in hotel rooms by touching the screen and voice commands.
The telecom company commercialized a robot concierge at Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences in Seoul in December 2019. KT forged a partnership with Shinsegae Chosun Hotel, a hotel franchise of Shinsegae Group, in December 2020 to provide an automated robot butler service. Using a smartphone app, customers can pick up room service delivered by serving robots.
"The whole accommodation industry is struggling because of COVID-19, but there is still a demand for investment in new hotels. At the same time, there is a growing demand for non-face-to-face services across the lodging industry." Bae said, promising to provide an integrated hotel service, along with convenient services that allow guests to control room lighting or home appliances, listen to music, and enjoy concierge services through hotel robots through AI voice commands.
"It's time to step back and prepare for the future at a time when the travel industry is shrinking," Bae said. "There are many customers who prefer to be served non-face-to-face," he said, pointing to a trend of relaxing, consuming media, and enjoying comfort in rooms.
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