Defining Hospitality

In the rapidly changing world of tech, the hospitality industry can struggle to keep up. Today’s guest is here to provide some guidance. Drawing on her 20 plus years of technology experience, she creates innovative experiences for guests and travelers. Joining the show this week is The Travel and Hospitality Industry Advisor at Salesforce, Jacqueline Nunley!

Jacqui joins host Dan Ryan to look towards the future of the hospitality industry. They discuss the common challenges facing hoteliers when implementing technology, the ways AI can revolutionize customer experience, and how brands need to think about implementing AI. 


Takeaways
  • Hospitality is an ever changing landscape. As guest expectations have changed, technology has advanced rapidly, creating a blank slate. This allows for the industry to redefine what hospitality means to them. 
  • Because the hospitality industry is often fragmented, implementing new technologies can be a challenge. When looking for new solutions, leadership should prioritize technologies that can work cross-functionally.
  • The level of repeatability and consistency in an experience needs to be tailored to the type of experience. Knowing what to expect can provide comfort to guests, but many guests often seek the unique experiences of the locations they visit. 
  • When looking to implement tech into a hotel, the end goal should be on making the staff’s jobs easier. By freeing up staff from mundane tasks that can easily be replaced, you allow them more time to focus on providing the human element to guests. 
  • AI offers many benefits to the end customer, but it requires careful consideration of a guest’s concerns. With many guests, there is a concern about the privacy of their data. Hotels need to provide a sense of security to ensure that guests trust the technology. 
  • Implementing AI into the hospitality industry is not about replacing people’s jobs, but rather about allowing them to better serve guests. Conversational AI can speed up support calls, drastically reducing customer frustrations.
  • While AI has the potential to redefine the hospitality industry, it’s adoption needs to be intentional. Instead of adding AI features because a competitor had, first assess if the use of that technology will add value to your customers. 


Quote of the Show:
  • “How are you engaging with your customers at the speed at which your customers are evolving?” - Jacqueline Nunley


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Ways to Tune In: 

What is Defining Hospitality?

Welcome to Defining Hospitality, the podcast focused on highlighting the most influential figures in the hospitality industry. In each episode we provide 1 on 1, in depth interviews with experts in the industry to learn what hospitality means to them. We feature expert advice on working in the industry, behind the scenes looks at some of your favorite brands, and in depth explorations of unique hospitality projects.

Defining Hospitality is hosted by Founder and CEO of Agency 967, Dan Ryan. With over 30 years of experience in hospitality, Dan brings his expertise and passion to each episode as he delves into the latest trends and challenges facing the industry.

Episodes are released every week on Wednesday mornings.

To listen to episodes, visit https://www.defininghospitality.live/ or subscribe to Defining Hospitality wherever you get your podcasts.

DH - Jacqueline Nunley
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Dan Ryan: Today's guest is a problem solver for some of the hospitality industry's most challenging problems. With over 20 years of technology experience, she creates innovative experiences for guests and travelers. She's a frequent writer who drives discussions on crucial industry topics, and she is the Travel and Hospitality Industry Advisor at Salesforce, which I'm sure all of you have heard of.

Ladies and gentlemen. Jackie Nunley. Welcome, Jackie.

Jacqueline Nunley: Thank you, Dan Ryan. It's really good to be here. Thank you so much for having me on Defining Hospitality.

Dan Ryan: Well, I, from the first moment I met you, which was probably, was it just a year ago? Or a year and a half ago? It was almost a year ago, right? At ILC in Los Angeles? I remember, um, you and I kind of broke away from the pack and had some really... Engaging conversations just cause like you're a tech person. I don't know anything about tech.

I know enough to like do a podcast and I know enough to like make my phones and computers work, but I consider myself a Luddite. And with the advent of all this AI stuff, and it was like kind of a little bit more scary last year than it is now, because I think I understand a little bit more. It's still scary and a lot of change, but I just remember having such a really wonderful.

an engaging conversation with you and it left me wanting to learn more and I knew that it would resonate with all of the guests. So I just want to say thank you for your time and, um, investment in time for coming here to, to tell your story.

Jacqueline Nunley: Thank you. Well, um, you're very welcome, first of all, and thank you for having me. I think that, uh, you know, you pointing back to the engaging conversations that we had. Um, that really kind of made me look at things a little bit differently. Um, and it, it was engaging from the point of view that I had to engage my empathy and also, you know, other aspects of what we do in hospitality to be able to have this really meaningful exchange with you and I.

And ever since then, I've thought a lot about it. So the advent of AI coming in, um, was a very interesting turning point that I think brought your point of view and my point of view together. And you know, I've continued to refine it in a way where the human aspect plays such an important part. Versus the, just the technology, doing a thing for the sake of doing a thing.

And I have such good insights from that. I can't wait for our next, let's break away and talk about this conversation.

Dan Ryan: Oh, well, well, hopefully we'll get to, to jump into it a little bit today. If that was what you were hoping for, because like the future is now, right? So, so here we are. But before we get into that, as it, I've always been amazed at this intersection of technology and hospitality, um, because oftentimes I feel like hospitality is such a human connection point, but technology does play an important role and outside of this conversation that we're going to have right now.

I also hear, although I'm not really heavily involved in the operations of Hotel or Guest Experience, um, that within the hotel industry, like me, it's a bit of a Luddite when it comes to, um, implementing hospitality or implementing technology because everything is so fragmented and Well, I actually don't know why I hear all these different issues, but I'm sure you could enlighten us.

So before we get into the tech part of being, how do you bridge people and technology in this world of hospitality? Let's first start with like, what does hospitality mean to you? And then we can get into all that. And I, I just feel like I've been speaking too much anyway. So it's your turn.

Jacqueline Nunley: So what is hospitality to me?

Um, how do I define hospitality? I think that, um, in this moment in time, uh, we're kind of like in no man's land. And, uh, the positive of that is that we are in a place where ourselves as travelers have changed, um, our expectations have shifted, um, we're in a place where hospitality from an operational perspective has changed, um, Um, has vast opportunities to get better. Um, we are at a point where technology itself is getting really smarter to be able to help, uh, hoteliers kind of deliver hospitality. To us, you know, you and me travelers and others like us But I don't think that there's a real way to define what hospitality is I believe that we are in this creative void So as new technology comes in and as people's expectations have changed this presents an incredible opportunity to be able to Not necessarily define what hospitality will be in the future, but refine what hospitality needs to be for people who are traveling today and staying in hotels or Airbnbs or are, you know, booking accommodation or trying to be inspired online on where to go next.

It's just a really exciting time. I always feel like it's, you know, kind of like the birth of the internet. And how that was and how it really affected everything that we do. I believe that this is truly a time for many industries, not just hospitality, but for many industries to really either refine or redefine what it is.

that they do and how they connect with their customers.

Dan Ryan: I agree in the sense it is. It's very turbulent and it's almost as if it's, um, a new industrial revolution or a new technological revolution or evolution. Um, one of the things that struck me from, I don't remember if it was our first conversation or second conversation. Um, it was the idea that, okay, as terrifying as this like nebulous idea of what AI is and large language models, ultimately, It's an extension of us, right?

Because it's pulling of all of our words, our, our needs, our desires, our, um,

language, our history, and it's, it's kind of putting it back to us and re, repackaging it and allowing us to move a bit faster. So, thank you for sharing that part with me because I think it helped get my head around it. But when you think about why it's exciting and re, A time of like, refocus, reinvigoration, and evolution, like what excites you the most about that and kind of where do you see the trajectory going as far as refining and redefining what we all do?

Jacqueline Nunley: Well, uh, you know, we, we just have to talk about, you know, this conversation that you and I had. And I think that that will give us the foundation to be able to kind of like talk about what you just asked. But it has a lot to do with why I'm so fascinated, uh, you know, with this error, but also with human minds.

Dan Ryan: Hmm.

Jacqueline Nunley: So you and I can, I listened to, to a lot of, you know, podcasts and academics who talk about the intersection between, you know, humanity and technology. And I can't remember who it was, but I listened to this gentleman talk about how human minds can like move in many, many domains. They can solve a lot of problems within many, many areas.

So he kind of was pointing to the fact that, you know, the amount of information that you have, that I have is really explosive. It's so incredibly wide ranged. And, you know, think about it, you need that from moment to moment to moment, it's not static. So in essence, what makes you intelligent, you know, is your ability to be able to ignore most of the information that is available to you. And, um, We, we do this in a way that allows us to be able to bias our attention, but we're always, the gentleman put it in this way where we're always subject to this vulnerability that you've missed something and that bias is going to turn out to be a prejudice. And he, he talked to me about this, this human capability of being, um, able to hone in on relevance, realization, and relevance is always what you can do as opposed to what it is that you're ignoring.

So across, you know, People and how we've developed this way of being able to use all of that information, narrow it down to what we need, and interact with each other in a way of You know, kind of being conscious of curbing our being biased, um, is, is really central to us. And this is what we talk about when, you know, people kind of like want to feel, um, connected. But the funny thing is, this is what we're trying to give artificial intelligence.

Dan Ryan: Hmm.

Jacqueline Nunley: we've made a lot of progress. Um, even though we're not a hundred percent there. So when you take a step back and you look at that, um, it's, it's, it's extremely interesting. We want to make things better and we have the technology to do so.

We have to be conscious of the risks around bias and safety and privacy, etc. But we're onto something that is really exciting, at least to me.

Because it allows people to be able to get better at what they do, and that's really kind of like the focus of how technology can help people rather than hinder us.

Dan Ryan: yeah, I, I really, I'm taken by how you said, like we as humans. It's basically our job to ignore what's not important to us, right? So, because that allows us to keep iterating and getting better and focus on what we need to do to to live life, to get our job done, to be a present part of a family or friend.

It's ignoring, it's like, where are this algorithm that helps us filter out all the not important things?

Jacqueline Nunley: Yes, so that we can focus on the important things. Um, it's, it's an ability to be able to filter out everything. Even as we are talking, there are some things that you're definitely picking up on. But there are some things that I'm saying that, you know, you pretty much don't care about.

So it really is that capacity to be able to hone in on the things that are important give your attention to those things? um, And,

allow the rest to kind of like keep occurring. Right now, both of us are sitting in rooms. There's things going on, you know, to my... To my left, there might be things going on in the room, you know where you are. There's plenty of stuff going on, but we're focused on each other and what we're talking about right now isn't that what we're trying to be able to do, to be able to pay attention to the things that matter.

Dan Ryan: Yes, I wholeheartedly believe that, but, but also there's a... And actually what you're saying is making me think about, okay, we all have only so many hours in a day. We all have all this technology and all this input from radio to internet to email to TV and everything's competing for our, for our time and our attention.

And really, so what makes us human is how and why we focus on certain things, right? But I've also heard people say that, well, right now there's more information than... The human has ever had to deal with coming at them. But I also think, I also push back on that a little bit, because if I think about back when we had to go and find our own food and water, I would say, like, just walking around outside, they were in tune with as much or more information, nuanced information, that we probably wouldn't even recognize right now.

So they could, they could eat and feed their families and, and be safe. Right? So I, I, but again, they have the same amount of time. They're looking at all the same things. It's not like they're turning off. They just are choosing where to focus so that they could get the nourishment and, and safety that they need.

So. I just think, and again, I think that that's all about where you're focusing, what the lens is focusing on. So then as that comes back full circle around to hospitality, how, what are some like really great examples of, of projects or initiatives that you've been involved in, in your tech career and not in Salesforce now that help hoteliers or guests Focus on what's most important to them out of all of the information that's coming over their transom.

Jacqueline Nunley: Well, um, so many tangible examples that I could use, but, um, You know, the, the unique thing about Salesforce is, Salesforce's entry into travel and hospitality wasn't building a product. and putting it out there. Salesforce's approach was looking at the market and saying, okay, what does what? And where is there an opportunity that we can actually help?

And I think that it was so clever, it was so smart because nobody had really entered this space in the way that we did. Where we live between the systems. Now, we also have products that facilitate certain things, whether it's marketing, service, you know, analytics and that sort of thing. But, we're not opposed to connecting to systems that have been in our industry for the longest time.

That do a certain job and they do a certain job really well and be able to connect that to how the consumer has evolved.

So I'm talking about the engagement layer. Nobody had really paid attention to the engagement layer. How are you engaging with your customers at the speed of which your customers are evolving?

And I think that that particular area is where, what Salesforce really does best.

Dan Ryan: Hmm.

Jacqueline Nunley: Now, of course, it's always. Much better if you were using our products,

Dan Ryan: Of course.

Jacqueline Nunley: but I have to, you know, I have to say being in this, you know, industry for over two decades, they still are products that do a really great job with regards to what it is that they're doing.

But you have an engagement layer where your customers, whether those are partners, whether those are travelers, whether those are Other businesses in hospitality, a way to engage that is connected to how the future is moving. So this is about making it easier for customers to understand their customers.

And in order to do that, you really have to understand who is your customer's customer.

That is the unique, you know, area in which we play. And bring that understanding so that our customers can be successful.

Dan Ryan: okay, so this is where my, my brain starts to lose track. So to, for, for what you're saying is your help, you're kind of bridging the gap between systems, right? Helping, helping the different systems focus, helping the people operating the business with the different systems focus on. Who their customer, the guest's customer is.

So to me, that's almost getting to a circular place. What do you mean by your customer's customers?

Jacqueline Nunley: So if you are running a typical brand or hotel business, um, your hotelier has the guest as a customer.

Dan Ryan: Correct.

Jacqueline Nunley: Um, but your hotelier provides services to other areas as well. Think of a concierge. So the concierge recommends restaurants that are in the area. Do you understand? Now, the partner becomes a customer as well.

Dan Ryan: Understood.

Jacqueline Nunley: There's negotiations with regards to, you know, procurement. What do you have in your restaurant? What are you buying? What your supplies are, et cetera, et cetera. Those are customers as well. And this is the beauty of hospitality. It's layers deep. It's not just on the surface, and many people misunderstand that, you know, hospitality is this simple thing because I've stayed in a hotel or, you know, I've gotten on an airplane and now I understand travel and hospitality, but our hoteliers know it's layers deep.

Think of a hotel management company. A hotel management company's customer is the owner, and they have an allegiance to also ensure that brand standards are, you know, maintained and exceeded at times. So who's the hotel management company's customer? It's not just the guest, it's the brand, it's the owner, or the investors, etc.

And you do need a way to be able to make it easier for them to serve those customers. And that's how your customer becomes successful. It's really looking at it holistically and driving the sort of process improvements with solutions that make it easier for the user to be able to execute on their job, easier for the user to be able to communicate to their customers.

And easier for the user to be able to measure their success.

Dan Ryan: And I would assume if you're measuring, then you can continually iterate and improve because the guest, like, like how it started, we're in this no man's land of post COVID hospitality. Like, what does it all mean? We're able to measure all of these things and then continue to bend the arc of our customers needs.

Or the guests, or the hotels, or all the other stakeholders, uh, in a property. So, so with this platform of Salesforce, and then all the other tech, it was like, when I go to a lot of conferences, I just see a lot of people are complaining that all of the tech platforms are just so fragmented, and hospitality is always a decade behind everyone else.

Number one, or more, maybe, is there truth to that, number one? And Even if there's a scintilla, why is that? Why, why is it so difficult for a hotel or a portfolio of hotels to kind of evolve with technology? Like, what is, what is that roadblock? And if I were to give you a magic wand, how does it get fixed?

Jacqueline Nunley: Gosh, you're putting a lot of pressure on me. I, I cannot save the world, but I'm going to try and answer your questions. So, um, number one, it's true. Uh, hospitality is very fragmented. But, um, I'm going to point you to an area where we can talk about hospitality in itself needing to be fragmented.

I mean, it's important to have some semblance of repeatability, because that is what is going to drive your customer to come back because of a memorable experience, right? It's the same with technology. If, you know, A piece of technology or a solution with technology is working and is allowing you to be able to provide that service or that particular promise to a customer. That's when it gets difficult to un kind of like, uh, unlink the two. And that's the reason why it's, it's You know, I've known that hospitality companies are slow at actually moving to new technology or to adapting to new, um, modernized solutions.

It's simply because of, if you look at the whole picture, taking it apart, I have this system that serves my customer A, I have this system that serves my customer B. I have this system that serves my customer C. You've got all of these systems doing what they're supposed to do. But the issue that came up a few years ago was, well, System one, two, and three don't talk to each other. And now I have cross pollination of system one and two having to engage with each other in order for me to be successful. So we had, you know, a whole 10, 15 years of the whole integration piece and how expensive and difficult that was for a lot of hoteliers. So that's another reason why hoteliers don't necessarily want to move off of their technology. the third angle around this problem that's existed for a while is not just the investment in new technology, but actually being able to prove that because consumers have changed, there is a need. To modernize the solutions. Why do you need to do that? It's because of this, uh, extensive range of different channels that your customers are talking to you through.

Dan Ryan: Hmm.

Jacqueline Nunley: where they're going to look for information as well, how they're comparing experiences as well. So if arm A doesn't know what arm B is doing, it makes it very difficult to keep that consistent, repeatable, you know, kind of flow that has worked for millennia for these hospitality customers. A fourth item. Is how these new brands, these boutique brands, these niche brands are coming into the fold, into the market, and is resonating really well with consumers. So, it's almost like, is there a need for a repeatable experience over and over again? Or are consumers looking for a different experience each time they travel?

Dan Ryan: Hmm.

Jacqueline Nunley: It depends on age group. If you have kids, you probably want a repeatable experience when you go to a resort. Because that gives you a lot of comfort with regards to you know what's going to happen and you know what to expect. Then there's this whole other genre that has started, which is, I want to travel to destination X. This is the experience that I would like to have. Now here are all the options that I could choose from. And from day to day, I want to switch it up and do something different. It doesn't just stick to activities and options of what you can do. It's about how well connected are you with the community that your hotel or brand is in to be able to bring more of the outside in to satisfy that consumer who wants to travel via experiences and stay with hotels that are authentic, true to their community.

Provide a lot of... different things to be able to do on are not typically what I expect. More like, truly surprise me and delight me, but give me a different experience that is memorable.

Dan Ryan: So,

Jacqueline Nunley: There was none there.

Dan Ryan: No, there's a lot there. And actually I wrote down all four of those things because I, to go back at it, like I, you know, we all hear this word authentic, which I think is a good word. Some people say it's overused, but I think it comes back to the first challenge of if you're doing so, if, if you're repeating something and delighting people and getting return customers in a way, I think the only way to really repeat Thank you.

To have a repeatable product or service is, is through being authentic, through your, it's values driven. You can deliver on the same thing over and over and over and get people to come back, create raving fans.

Jacqueline Nunley: Yes,

Dan Ryan: But at the same time, there has to be some kind of an adaptability because all the stakeholders that you mentioned are all different, right?

Jacqueline Nunley: correct.

Dan Ryan: which then gets into like... The, uh, the genesis of the question was like, why is it so like, why do I always hear that hotels have such a problem implementing new technology? And I, I heard from you, there's vestigial, vestigial systems that are whether, because I was just thinking about all the different systems that might be in a, in a, in a real asset of a hotel.

There's, There's obviously, like, revenue management, property management, which I'm probably, I would interface with the most. I don't touch all the other ones. There's probably a marketing arm, there's a point of sale, there's, I'm sure, like, some human capital type thing, like, scheduling and payroll. Like, how many different systems does a hotel have?

And how often, at what percentage of hotels are they all, do they all stay in different silos?

Jacqueline Nunley: Well, it depends, uh, uh, you know, to answer your first question, you know, how many systems does a hotel have? Think about this. Even within hospitality, we have so many different sub segments.

Dan Ryan: Mm-hmm.

Jacqueline Nunley: So, how many systems a hotel has when you're looking at the resort segment, versus you're looking at an urban hotel, versus you are looking at, you know, running a brand like Airbnb, or you're looking at an OTA. And you know hospitality extends into, you know, cruise lines. It

extends into car rentals. It extends into pretty much everything. So that's a really difficult question to answer without honing in on a specific sub segment. Now,

Dan Ryan: yeah. Go with, go with

Jacqueline Nunley: talked about all of these different, um, systems. You talked about a property management system.

Now, think about how many modules make up that property management system.

Dan Ryan: and, and

Jacqueline Nunley: sales, you've got marketing, you've got accounting, you've got, you know, interfaces that kind of, like, figure out your key lock system, etc. You've got concierge, you've got front desk, etc. So even a system has systems within systems that keep the hotel running.

So the best way to actually look at this is, you know, what is guest facing? and, how are you engaging with your guests versus what is operational and how are you operating your hotel brand? Or, you know, uh, kind of like range of different hotel brands together, et cetera. so it is a very complex, um, kind of like area of, uh, of focus and you can't replace just about everything.

Well, maybe you can, but I mean, it, it will take hospitalitarians a little while to be able to kind of like figure out how do you move. And I like this part of the story. It's like, how do you move from legacy systems into modernized technology systems that allow you to be able to meet your objectives for the modern traveler, for the modern, you know, partner that you're working with, for the modern, you know, owner and, um, you know, kind of like investor for hospitality.

I think that is the real crux. of helping hoteliers move into systems that are going to help them get better at what it is that they do, which is delivering hospitality.

Dan Ryan: and I would also say to go back to the beginning of our conversation in as being a human, and in this case delivering hospitality, it's really important. And the secret skill is probably at that moment in time, ignoring everything that's not important and focusing on what's most important.

Jacqueline Nunley: There you are. Yeah, that's exactly it. You know, how do you kind of like hone in on focusing on the most important things? But we have to be realistic here as well. You know, how much work does a general manager have to do before, you know, he can check that box of, okay, today's been a good day. And I'm talking about these, you know, people who work in hospitality, who have Things to run in order for the hotel to run.

Dan Ryan: Well, and that goes into really any operating business. Okay, yeah, we have all the systems and all the machinery that make whatever company or operation work, but I would say, you know, speaking to general managers, they probably spend 70 to 75 to 85 percent of their time Talking to their teams and their guests, because those are the most, most important things to grow leaders within there.

Um, and this goes to any business, not just hotel, but that's why that technology suite really needs to be kind of humming so that they could spend more time with humans.

Jacqueline Nunley: exactly. And doing what it is that we, you know, have set out to do, which is being hospitable. So typically what I do is, you know, I ask the question, how can I help you with your job?

Dan Ryan: Hmm.

Jacqueline Nunley: Because as long as I am helping you get better at what it is that you're doing. You're getting better at delivering what your promise is to the guest, to the traveler. How can I help this front desk agent become better at what they're doing? How can I free up the time of the general manager so that he can focus more on his team's, you know, needs and productivity? How can I help the housekeeper who might be, you know, working in a hotel that's short staffed? What tools can we provide to that particular department that would allow them to be a little bit more productive without marring them in the checks And balances?

And I can go on and on and on within every single department. What are we doing to actually help the users deliver hospitality? And it's only through making what it is that they need to do that makes that magic happen, but is layers deep. If we can make their jobs a little bit easier with technology, that is how we help hoteliers deliver hospitality.

Dan Ryan: And I guess, and that comes full circle back around to this whole idea of AI, because look, you can, you can fear it, but I don't think that genie is going back in the bottle, or you can say, how can I have this new tool help me get 10 times better? How can I help use this tool to help me gain focus? How can I use this tool to help me not focus on what's not important?

Right? As a support. Um,

Jacqueline Nunley: So, when you,

Dan Ryan: yeah.

Jacqueline Nunley: sorry, go ahead.

Dan Ryan: No, so I was saying, since that I remember at first talking to you about AI a year ago and just being like, oh my god, this is like crazy stuff, and then maybe six months later it was really crazy, and then I don't know, a few months ago I saw I was like, okay, I'm not feeling as terrified by it.

Um, because I do see it as a tool. And, so how are you seeing the stakeholders that you're dealing with, whether it's at Salesforce or your customers or your customers, customers, like you said, are they going kind of on a similar arc with the, with respect to AI? And how are you seeing some of those success stories of, of not fearing the Reaper, so to speak?

Jacqueline Nunley: Well, I think, um, the first part of your question. So, uh, if I was to answer what's going on here at Salesforce, I think one of the things that bubbled up from our conversation And you know, between then and now. is, um, we honed in on one of the most important aspects of new technology, which is trust. And it's, it's really about having access to these capabilities on a platform. That is trusted. I think when we talked and there was, you know, AI being introduced, there was a lot of fear going around. And I think that sales was really addressed to that with, it's actually our first value that the company was built on, and that is trust. So we've moved into an era of what is trust management?

Within the concept of AI and data. So number one, um, the first thing that kind of comes up is privacy. How is your data going to be safe? Is it on a trusted platform that is secure? And then how am I going to manage that data? on this platform to be able to help me achieve whatever it is that I need to achieve.

So I think that trust is one of the most important aspects of normalizing how you move forward with AI and data and technology, new technology that helps, you know, these, these customers be successful in the future.

Dan Ryan: And then that also rolls back to that idea of, Repeatability and Authenticity, because again, those are, in order to be centered on that, it's really values driven. So, I agree, you know, in messing around with AI, sometimes it hallucinates or does these weird things, but if you have another filter of trust over all of that, so that it's helping you focus on what needs to be focused on, um,

Jacqueline Nunley: So

let's...

Dan Ryan: see how that would help.

Jacqueline Nunley: Right, let's just talk about an example there, right?

So, um, Yeah.

between, you know, you and I talking, and, and now... Uh, if you look at the world of service, you have conversational AI really making its impact on how service is going to change and how call centers are going to become not just more productive, but more accurate at actually solving customers, um, issues. So just think of a typical company that is providing a service. Today, you should call in and the first thing that you are hit with is, you know, select one for this or select two for this or select three or just hold on the line. And the minute you Make your selection, you're taken through more selections of what your issue is.

Then you're asked to verify yourself and you go ahead and do that. And at this point, you're probably screaming into the phone representative. Because you're frustrated,

you've been on the phone for 10 minutes going through this and that and the other, and you finally get to the person who is subject to your frustration. And because of trust and privacy and all of these checks and balances, et cetera, probably takes you through 35 to 50 percent of what you've already verified on the phone.

Dan Ryan: Yeah,

Jacqueline Nunley: leads to more frustration, but that's like a really bog standard type of experience when you're calling in for service, right?

Dan Ryan: Mm

Jacqueline Nunley: So when you look at the world of conversational AI coming in, I'm not talking about conversational AI taking people's jobs, but I'm talking about the information that conversational AI can access. To speed up that process of verifying you, speed up the process of what it is that you want, Reroute you to the correct person to take care of your issue.

But not only that, you step out of conversational AI and you start to look at AI ops. How are you helping the agent get better at serving you?

What information does the agent need to understand who they're speaking to, how they can help and solve that problem much, much quicker. So you're shortening the amount of time that, you know, this particular Dan Ryan is on the phone trying to get service for cable. And you've gotten Dan to a place where he can, you know, kind of. Immediately get resolution to his issue simply by employing a tool that.

can look at all of the data, make decisions of where to get down to. and execute on providing Dan with the right sort of person to solve their issue, and then providing that person with the right information to solve Dan's problem.

That is the beauty of using AI to really assist and help. in ways that we never have done before or been, you know, ways that haven't been available before. That's a real life example.

Dan Ryan: Yeah, as you're saying that, it made me think, I saw, uh, there was a conversation with, I think, Jamie Dimon, who's the CEO and chairman, I think he's the CEO and chairman of, uh, of Chase, JPMorgan Chase, and they, they were talking about AI and he's like, and when you talk about stakeholders, it's not just, The customer, but also the provider of the service, the, the, the, the, the vendor, if you will, um, he was saying, look, and just using AI, I forget what they call it, like, it's like Lucy or Jeffrey or something.

It's some, it's a person's name. Like, they basically, and just implementing that call center information. They were able to save either 5 million calls or 5 million hours of people's lives from just people calling to ask what their routing number is, right? And then that's just one little thing and not many people call and ask for a routing number but I can imagine it would just allow us all to spend time, more time on what's more important and less time on what's less important.

Jacqueline Nunley: Correct.

Correct. So it's, it's a fascinating area that has, you know, started to develop and, and When you look at the world of, of utilizing AI as a tool that actually helps you to get to a place, you've just honed in on something incredible. So there's KPIs to be got.

Dan Ryan: Mm.

Jacqueline Nunley: But think about now this intelligence that allows you to be able to go into your system and say, a hundred people called in with the same issue that Dan had.

And does that allow you to be able to go and address that issue so that issue doesn't exist anymore? And think about, yes, one is the revenue that is associated with, you know. Saving customers from calling about that issue. Um, but it's also solving the problem around an agent who just sits there. Can you imagine if you were that agent that sits there, that takes calls on routing numbers,

how satisfying is that job? Are we really thinking about the people who work, who need help, to be able to enjoy providing service to others? This is a really important aspect. It's not just our industry, but our industry leads with that, right? We want to be there for guests. We want them to have a good experience. We want them to connect and have a really memorable, unique time. So in leading with that, it's, it's almost like we have to take care of the people who are working in hospitality as well. And when we're looking at new technology solutions, We understand there are risks around the privacy and newness of AI, so choose a system that you can trust. That's number one.

Dan Ryan: Mm.

Jacqueline Nunley: But don't just try and get repeatable solutions that help the customer, which is more revenue for you.

Do something for your employees that is going to help you retain them, so that you can continue to deliver the level. of hospitality that is, you know, expected from your guests.

Dan Ryan: I completely agree there because oftentimes we have these ways of doing things, and oftentimes many of the things that we have to do in our day to day work, just in getting things done, um, it's not exactly the most engaging. I bet if we drew a line down a piece of paper of what we like doing and what we don't like doing, we all have things we don't like doing.

And I think, um, I love how you said it promotes retention as well, because there's always stuff on the side of the piece of paper that are just that we don't enjoy doing, but we have to do. And I think that's also a promise of technology. It's offload those things so that we, I always say, we As people, we just need to spend more time thinking and doing things that we're best at, and being in that place as much as possible, and are we ever going to be 100 percent in there?

Maybe someday, but like, realistically, we should be spending 80 percent of our time doing what we're best at, right? And that should be trending to a larger number as well, so we That's why I'm now excited by all of this, and I don't know, I've always leaned into technology as an end user, and leaned on technology to help do those things on the side of the paper that I don't like doing.

Um, I'll do them, but I don't necessarily enjoy them, and I think it, like, all that, I don't know, all the paper is just, uh, It's like, it could be death by a thousand paper cuts. And why do we need to be doing that? Why, why, if we're in our zone of genius, as we call it, we could be really doing such a more human impact and leaving a trail or a wake of impacted people behind us that will go on and impact more.

So in a way, I'm hopeful that AI will help us be more human.

Jacqueline Nunley: Yeah. Absolutely. I think you, you just hit the nail on the head right there. Can AI help us be more human.

I

think

Dan Ryan: I hope so. I, I, I hope so.

Jacqueline Nunley: if it's implemented the Right. way. I think it can. Um, but this has to also be a very, uh, conscious kind of approach to it, a meaningful approach to it. And, you know, humanizing AI is really about the assessment of where It's, needed versus where it's not. And I think that that's an important aspect. We started talking about, you know, systems that do a certain thing. Many, I see many, um, you know, companies kind of like just going crazy with it and it's keeping up with the Joneses and it's, Oh, my competitor has this, so I have to have it too. But you haven't really assessed whether it's adding any value

Dan Ryan: Right. It's,

Jacqueline Nunley: or are you just wanting to be part of the hype,

Dan Ryan: yeah.

Jacqueline Nunley: which creates more and more noise?

which makes it more and more difficult for people to ignore what is not important and focus on the things that are really important. So, hospitality in a sense, I know I said that I wasn't defining it, but if I were to define hospitality, the first word that I would actually choose is intentional.

Dan Ryan: Yes.

Jacqueline Nunley: It is intentional attention on what is important versus What is just noise, and how can you help your employees first, and then, of course, guests? It's not about what it is that you do next. It's about creating memorable experiences. I have this, you know, phrase that I use. I'm pretty sure it irritates some of the people that I work with, but instead of, What should you do next? I always say it's the last best experience. If you want a cheat sheet, To how to deliver the best hospitality can you at this point?

This is a challenge for anyone who's listening to this. Can you at this point? Identify the last best experience that that particular guest had and can you repeat it?

Dan Ryan: Totally. I, I always say like in providing custom, custom furniture to hotels. Every project is different, right? Everything is different. And really, and just like what you're saying, it's, you're only as good as your last project. You know, there could be longshoreman strikes, there could be COVID, there could be supply chain interruptions, there could be just a bad batch of glue that got in there and caused some things to delaminate, but you're only as good as your last project.

And, and when things do go sideways, there's also, those are also opportunities to. surprise and delight and, and make sure that they're always leaving with the, with the, with the best impression, even though if things got challenging, they're leaving with the best impression. I always look at every challenge as an opportunity.

And also in just like the physical product stuff, not so much technology. Many people who produce, from shoes to furniture to whatever, iPhones, stuff that's in any store you're going to buy. They all say the hardest part is the last five miles. It's from the distribution center or the warehouse to the final, to the shelf or to the room.

And, and it's, uh, those are the things that you just can't control, but you can put so much effort around making that. a more thoughtful and intent. I love intentionality. It's maybe that an intent to be intentional about something. You have to be focused to be focused about something. You have to be not paying attention to all the non important things.

So, and I think like looking at animals, I feel like humans are probably, or can't not, they are not always, but they can be and probably are more often than not the most intentional of all of our animal kingdom.

Jacqueline Nunley: Yeah, so being intentional is is is really required to be able to deliver the last best experience. And, and think about it. You said there are things that can get in the way. There are plenty of things that can get in the way of that. But if I stayed at a resort that had a really nice restaurant, and that was my last best experience, the meal that I had at the restaurant, and I actually filled that in in the survey.

So, you know, the hotel or resort knows this. Now, between then and now, maybe they got a new chef. But to be able to use that information and say, we know that the last time that you were here, you rated the restaurant and the meal that you had really well, and we'd like you to know that We have a new chef, and we'd really value your opinion if you came in to the restaurant and tried out his menu. Now... We know that that doesn't always happen. What happens is, you rated something really high, things happened in between, there's a new chef at the restaurant, and you went into the restaurant on your next visit, and nobody told you, and the meal was horrible. Do you see how being intentional actually uses the information that is available to be able to, kind of like, deliver on what it is that I remember most? with what changed in between then and now, and then offer me something that is going to engage me in a way. That will kind of like balance out my expectation, but the question is what are hotels doing with that data? How are you making it meaningful and using it intentionally? And the only way that you can actually do this at scale is with the right technology,

Dan Ryan: Yeah, I think unless you're really good at going through filing cabinets or, um, always going into like people's desktop folders on their, on their computers and like really looking at all that stuff because it's all lost. Are there, are there notes or scribbled pieces of paper? Um, has to be a way to, and technology is that, to pull it all together so that we can find those KPIs that are important to all the stakeholders and continually improve from that.

Jacqueline Nunley: right? And then be able to personalize at a level that is actually meaningful and intentional. Because at the end of the day, all you want is for that particular consumer to remember who you are and what you made them feel.

Dan Ryan: Mm. Totally.

Jacqueline Nunley: it's very hard to do this at scale and do it well, which is why technology should always be looked at as a tool that helps you to get there.

Dan Ryan: so we've done a lot of time looking backwards as far as like where we are, why it's difficult, what kind of a glimpse of what the promised land may be. Um, as you're looking forward, what's exciting you most about what you see out there?

Jacqueline Nunley: Um, I get really excited with the unexpected. So, I think that the, um, the advent of when we last spoke and, you know, AI's newness and that sort of thing coming into the fold, uh, versus where it is that we are going, um, I started this, you know, conversation to say that we were in no man's land

right now.

Well, I believe that after that initial excitement, everybody's had their heads down and they're working on things and refining things and being creative. So what I'm really excited about is the opening of. You know, Pandora's box where all of these great startups, all of these great companies who've been working on solutions opens up and starts to really showcase how these things that we're talking about, all these areas that we're talking about have become real. And are being used not just by corporations and, you know, by companies who are in travel and hospitality, but also by users. You know, consumers, guests, travelers, etc. And starting to get real feedback of all of this happening. That's what really excites me. I want to see what has gone wrong. I want to see what's gone right.

I want to see all of the creativity that is coming out of this start to be used in a very tangible way. That's what really excites me about, you know, the future.

Dan Ryan: And do you know, do you know what all that creativity is of taking all this new, this brave new world of information and everything? That creativity and creating these new startups and these new platforms and making this all useful, that's humanity. That's what it is human. That's, that's creating the focus.

The people are creating the focus, identifying where there's a pain point or a bottleneck and leveraging their creativity. And taking technology and AI, if that's part of technology, so that we can shorten the journey towards all the different stakeholders that are involved in anything. So I'm, I'm actually very excited about that as well.

Um, and I think the faster that we can get to that point where we're, um, reaping what's been sowed and really show tangible things of like how this can impact us all. Positively, so we can spend, so we can spend time on that side of the paper that we enjoy and are best at, um, I think that it portends a very exciting future.

Jacqueline Nunley: yeah. I think AI will, oh, I believe that AI will become even more contextually aware and adaptive. Now, I don't believe in hospitality that it's going to replace human touch. But hospitality professionals have to be freed up of mundane tasks, and that is what is going to allow them to kind of like focus on building deeper relationships with guests. So the future.

isn't about AI versus humans. It's about AI and humans working together to offer unprecedented levels of, you know, service and personalization in hospitality.

And that's what I'm really excited to start seeing coming out of the stories. It's really about helping us. Determine where AI fits and where it doesn't.

Dan Ryan: Well, I've enjoyed this so much and I feel like we need to talk. We, I feel like we need to do another episode on this because part of the trepidation for me of. of having you on to talk about technology. I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. But it's uh, but I feel like in talking to you, you made me feel safe about saying some stupid things.

And um, well not necessarily stupid, but just being able to ask stupid questions. Uh, and because this is all, all really new to me. And I just appreciate you being on. Um, and... So thank you. Like, how can people, if, uh, if they want to get in touch with you or find out more, how can they, what's the good way for them to connect human to

Jacqueline Nunley: So human to human

Um, so what's coming up for me work wise is the greatest show on earth. Um, actually it's an event called Dreamforce and Salesforce has this annual event for our customers and our prospects to come in and, you know, take a look at all of the technology and. all of the, you know, concepts that we have and connect with each other and give back and just have a really superb time.

So we have this every year towards, you know, uh, the fall, um, in San Francisco. So if anyone wants to connect with me, I will be there live and direct. Um,

another way. in all of my humanity?

and my technological proudness. Um, but, uh, if folks want to connect, you know, they can always find me on LinkedIn. Um, I, I, I am determined to be known by two emojis, which is the dying of laughter and the love heart. Uh, that is what I want to be known for, so you'll see that on all of my posts. It's hard to, to miss it. So you can always connect with me on LinkedIn.

Um, if not, you know, come to Austin, Texas, where I reside. And you can often catch me at a lot of art and technology shows here.

Dan Ryan: Wonderful. Um, well, again, I want to say thank you, Jackie, for being on here. And I do feel like we've kind of only scratched the surface because normally I don't talk about technology, but I do want to. learn more and more. So thank you for being like one of the first forays into it. Um, I need to just get comfortable and figure out where I need to focus on so that I can be more human talking about it and figuring out how this can help our listeners think about what's coming next.

So a wholehearted thank you to you.

Jacqueline Nunley: Thank you so much, Dan Ryan. you.

know how I am. Absolutely love talking to you. We've got so much in common that we discovered as well, which is, you know, uh, I believe that there are no coincidences.

Dan Ryan: Mm

Jacqueline Nunley: Uh, I truly believe an opportunity is to connect with other human beings. And I think that I definitely found that with you.

So thank you so much for having me. It's been an honor speaking to you.

Dan Ryan: Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And also, I'd be remiss to not thank our listeners because without you guys tuning in every week, we wouldn't be here talking to Jackie. I'd be talking to her privately, and we wouldn't get to share our learnings, uh, and impact everyone else in a positive way. So if this changed your idea on hospitality and technology within hospitality, please pass it along because we just grow by word of mouth and thank you everyone.