Ashland Hotel Uses Artificial Intelligence Concierge

There's a new concierge at The Palms Hotel, but you won't see him behind the desk. The Palms uses a digital concierge named Alex.

Posted: Apr 23, 2018 6:22 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2018 6:26 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. -- There's a new concierge at The Palm hotel, but you won't see him behind the desk. The Palm uses a digital concierge named Alex. Alex is a form of artificial intelligence, and was coded by the General Manager a year ago. 

David Jones, the General Manager of The Palm, says he coded Alex when he saw more people communicating over text message. 

"I couldn't have a dedicated staff member just responding to texts, but I could have Alex do it," says Jones. 

Alex can do more than 300 tasks for guests digitally. 

"He can anticipate their needs," says Jones. 

Guests can talk to Alex through the chat function on The Palm's website, or you can text him and get a reply within seconds.

Jones told NewsWatch12 that Alex is a compliment to the 25 people on staff. Alex can take care of tasks like adjusting the thermostat or giving restaurant recommendations. 

"They're able to spend more time with guests and not worry about that second phone call," says Jones. 

Jones says the technology will not be taking away jobs because there are many things Alex can't do. While Alex can answer direct questions, he cannot problem solve for guests. 

"But if you say 'I just had a car break down I don't know if I'll be in Ashland tonight' that's a much harder query for a computer to grasp. That's when a human comes in," says Jones. 

Jones says a majority of guests enjoy Alex, and even try to meet him when they first arrive. 

"They want to come into the office and talk to Alex, and there's no Alex there to speak with," says Jones. 

The Palm is currently developing software so that guests can speak to Alex on the phone and hear a voice back. 

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