With technology improving year after year, it’s important to stay with the times and use the new systems to make your business more successful. One relevant technological advancement is artificial intelligence (AI).

Dale Bertrand, CEO of Fire&Spark, is very knowledgeable when it comes to using AI to accelerate your business. Recently, Bertrand took the time to teach attendees at the NAFDMA Convention how to use AI to transform agritourism experiences. (NAFDMA is the International Agritourism Association.)

In a broad sense, AI can help you come up with creative ideas for your farm/event. The main industry utilizing AI at the moment is actually marketing, using it to create social media captions, job descriptions, email newsletters, press releases and more. In order to use this tool properly, think of AI as “smart tech.”

There are two main types of AI systems: predictive and generative. Just as it sounds, predictive AI helps to predict an outcome, like the weather, whereas generative AI helps to generate ideas, such as creating recipes or ice breaker games. Both types are “trained” on data accessible on the internet.

Generative AI uses the content it was trained on to create new ideas and objects; predictive AI uses the data to determine trends and predict the future. Although both types are beneficial, it’s important to choose the right type for the goal you have for it.

AI is a tool that can benefit your business – you just have to learn how to use it, said Dale Bertrand, CEO of Fire&Spark. Photo by Kelsi Devolve

Predictive AI can help mitigate potential weather and staffing problems. This can help you better prepare and use your time and money wisely in different situations. For example, in order to predict how many staff members you should have on the day you’re hosting an event, predictive AI can go through the following process or something similar:

  1. Predict the weather on the day of your event, even breaking it down to each hour.
  2. Predict, based on that weather, how many people you can expect to come within an hour. (In order to do that, it must know your attendance rates from the past events in conjunction with the weather. How many people attended on a sunny day? How many people attended on a rainy day?)
  3. Based on the expected number of attendees, it can recommend how many staff members are needed for each hour of time.

However, using predictive AI can be problematic and biased, as “its predictions can only be as good as its statistics,” Bertrand said, so take them with a grain of salt. The more information you can provide it, the more accurate it will be.

Generative AI, such as ChatGPT, on the other hand, “amplifies your creativity” and can increase efficiency. Some ideas for this type of AI would be to create promotional campaigns, analyze a database or spreadsheet, create activities, develop marketing materials and more.

Generative AI is more efficient if you think of it “as a partner” and “give it a goal,” Bertrand explained. For example, if you are asking ChatGPT to help you analyze a set of data, don’t just ask it to analyze it, ask “How can you visually help me better recruit next year?” or “How can you help me spend my marketing budget more efficiently?”

No matter what you are using AI for, remember it is a tool to help you complete a task, not to do the task for you. If you’re writing a press release, it’s better to use AI to create a rough draft to get you started than to use it to create the final product.

AI is a tool that can benefit your business – you just have to learn how to use it.

by Kelsi Devolve