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Artificial Intelligence in Hospitality and Tourism

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

The submission portal for this special issue will open May 1, 2020

Guest Editors
Carlos Flavian, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza (Spain) [email protected]
Dan Wang, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) [email protected]
Luis V. Casaló, University of Zaragoza, Huesca (Spain) [email protected]

Fevzi Okumus, University of Central Florida, USA, [email protected]

The development of artificial intelligence (AI) is significantly affecting the relationships with customers, employees and other actors. Specifically, AI is increasingly adding analytical, intuitive and empathetic skills (Huang and Rust, 2018), enabling new forms of interaction that should be considered in business strategy. As a result, a more challenging step is being implemented; AI is motivating the automation of processes and services, being recently used as a way to interact directly with customers in frontline services (Van Doorn et al., 2017).

This trend is not different in the tourism, leisure and hospitality industry. The use of AI and autonomous robots is continuously increasing; for example, some tech-savvy hotels already feature robots performing hotel tasks such as check-in and room service (Osawa et al., 2017) or robot waiters are already serving customers in several restaurants around the world (e.g. the Robot Restaurant in the Chinese city of Kunshan employs 15 robots to greet customers as they arrive, take orders, cook and serve meals), which is affecting experiences and relationships with customers. In addition, service automation may have a great impact on customer choices (e.g., Van Doorn et al., 2017) and behaviors (e.g. Grewal et al., 2017). In this respect, the use of chatbots and digital intelligent assistants are increasingly serving as a conversational system for sales, marketing and customer service purposes, having more engaging and human like conversations thanks to machine learning (SAP, 2018). While the earliest versions of conversational bots were simple response platforms, current AI-powered bots are much more powerful and they are expected to become more sophisticated and capable in the coming years (Accenture, 2018), increasing human-technology interactivity. Similarly, machine learning may be used to automate several tasks (e.g., pattern recognition) and has thus become a powerful tool in dealing with big data (e.g., text analytics, large data sets) and information management, offering the opportunity to speed up the decision making and better serve customers’ needs and demands. Other AI-based applications may also provide additional benefits, such as blockchain, which may help develop more secure data (transactions, information, etc.) transmissions and records.

In sum, AI offers the possibility to exploit a wide range of new possibilities (the use of autonomous robots, drones and vehicles; conversational systems such as chatbots and digital assistants; machine learning, blockchain, etc.) and represents a clear opportunity to advance in the transformation of the tourism, leisure and hospitality industry by providing customers with greater value and increasing firms’ revenues. As a result, this is an increasingly discussed and debated body of literature, even though there is still a lack of empirical research focused on this area and the potential applications to the tourism, leisure and hospitality industry remains unexplored.

Therefore, the aim of this special issue is to deepen and broaden the current understanding of the use of AI in the management of hospitality and tourism businesses, its application in different activities (e.g., distribution, sales, customer service, advertising…), and its main outcomes (e.g., influence on policies, relationships, customers’ reactions…). All theoretical and methodological (both qualitative & quantitative) approaches are equally appreciated, and we particularly welcome multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary submissions that covers different issues relevant to strategic management, operations or marketing, and provides evidence based on data from any part of the globe.

Submissions related to the following topics are particularly welcome
Topics of interest of the special issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Which is the efficiency and ROI (return-of-investment) of automation and AI in hospitality and tourism businesses?
  • Which are the main benefits and challenges of automation and AI in hospitality and tourism businesses? Is there a dark side of using AI?
  • Which is the influence of AI on customer decision making? Is this influence different in pre-travel and post-travel stages?
  • Which activities (i.e., sales, promotion, business organization, operations, etc.) are most likely to benefit from automation and AI in hospitality and tourism businesses?
  • Are conversational systems (chatbots, digital assistants…) helpful to improve the relationship with the customer? In which activities (i.e., customer service, sales, etc.) should be employed?
  • Which is the influence of automation and AI on customers’ experience and relationship outcomes (i.e. satisfaction, loyalty, engagement, profitability...)? Which constructs moderate or mediate these relationships?
  • Which are the key customer-based factors (e.g., personality…) and particular technologies (e.g., service robots, chatbots…) influencing value creation through automation and the use of AI in hospitality and tourism businesses?
  • Which are the main customers’ attitudes, expectations, reactions and perceptions about the use of AI in hospitality and tourism businesses?
  • Which is the role of interactivity in customers’ acceptance of automation and AI in hospitality and tourism businesses?
  • Do customers trust on the use of AI (e.g., chatbots, service robots, blockchain…) in hospitality and tourism businesses? 
  • How does automation and AI affect consumer experiences in the hospitality and tourism context?
  • Which are the main ethical questions arising from the use of AI? For example, which is the effect of service automation on employment? Will machine learning affect consumers’ behavior?
  • Do customers prefer to interact with humans or robots in hospitality and tourism services? In which activities should the use of robots be implemented first?
  • Is service recovery different when interacting with humans or robots in hospitality and tourism services?
  • Which is the role of AI on destination marketing and management? How is AI affecting tourism promotion and policies?
  • Is service automation more effective for retaining existing customers or attracting new ones in hospitality and tourism businesses?
  • How is the marketing mix being affected by the use of AI in hospitality and tourism businesses?
  • Use of big data based on AI in hospitality and tourism: machine learning, mining methods, patterns recognition, text analytics…
  • Progress on service automation and use of AI in hospitality and tourism businesses, specific applications.

Accenture (2018). Chatbots are here to stay. So what are you waiting for? Accenture Digital.
Grewal, D., Roggeveen, A.L. & Nordfält, J. (2017), “The future of retailing,” Journal of Retailing, Vol. 93, No. 1, pp. 1-6.
Huang, M.H., & Rust, R.T. (2018), “Artificial intelligence in service,” Journal of Service Research, forthcoming.
Osawa, H., Ema, A., Hattori, H., Akiya, N., Kanzaki, N., Kubo, A., Koyama, T., & Ichise, R. (2017), “Analysis of robot hotel: Reconstruction of works with robots,” 2017 26th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Lisbon, August 2017, pp. 219-223.
SAP (2018). Trend Report 2018. Emerging Technology Trends.
Van Doorn, J., Mende, M., Noble, S.M., Hulland, J., Ostrom, A.L., Grewal, D., & Petersen, J. A. (2017), “Domo arigato Mr. Roboto: Emergence of automated social presence in organizational frontlines and customers’ service experiences,” Journal of Service Research, Vol. 20, No.1, pp. 43-58.

Submission procedure
Prospective authors are strongly encouraged to contact the special issue editors regarding potential topics of interest or any questions/suggestions regarding the special issue to [email protected]. Abstracts (up to 750 words) can be submitted directly to the guest editors via email ([email protected]) by 15 December 2019. Abstracts must be concise and to the point, with appropriate references. Full papers must be submitted by 30 June 2020 through ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Please select the correct issue to submit to: “Artificial Intelligence in Hospitality and Tourism”.  Registration and access is available at:
Author guidelines for IJCHM can be found at:
Review process
Each paper submitted to this special issue will be subject to the following review procedures:

  1. It will be reviewed by the guest editors for general suitability for this special issue.
  2. If it is judged suitable, three reviewers will be selected for a rigorous double-blind review process.
  3. Based on the recommendation of the reviewers, the guest editors and the Editor-in-Chief will decide whether the particular paper should be accepted as it is, revised and re-submitted, or rejected.

Abstracts submissions:               15 December 2019 ([email protected])
Abstract decisions:                      20 January 2020
FULL paper submissions:            30 June 2020
Revisions and decisions:            15 January 2020
Publication:                                 Mid 2021