Before delving deeper into this topic, let us know-
What is a chatbot?
According to Wikipedia, a chatbot is a computer program which conducts a conversation via textual or auditory methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test. Chatbots are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including customer service, engagement or information acquisition. Some chatbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems, but many simpler bot-systems scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database.
With the help of chatbots, a customer can manage his/her own bookings without needing to wait on the line for the next available representative. Also, chatbots are an effective tool when it comes to redefine customer experience in a hotel because with the help of these, a guest can engage with the hotel effortlessly and many real-time queries can be solved without wasting any effort or time; that’s what a customer wants from you. Chatbots can make the customer experience personal without the cost of hiring any human and you can employ your staff for effective human-touch whenever required. With chatbots, you can retarget your guests too! How? Just implement a chatbot with an inbuilt CRM and engage your customers on digital platforms like- social media, emails, and SMS; tell them about your latest services, offers and other relatable information.
What it can do for your business?
Upsell and cross-sell services: Chatbots are way too ahead of the humans as they can easily cross-sell or upsell your services! For example, a guest arrives at your hotel after a long journey in flight, here, the chatbot can send recommendations to the guest about your cafe or spa and can easily indulge or entice them with offers and discounts. Because chatbots are powered by machine learning algorithms that optimize and personalize messages accordingly as they converse, the customer interaction is found to be helpful and informative, leading to up-sell and cross-sell conversion, rather than being seen as touting.
Last, but not the least, chatbots can take your guest experience to a whole new level by revamping your existing brand loyalty and relevance. How? As we know that guests always want something new and interesting from you, it is your duty to deliver them some mind-boggling features and services that will make your guests always come back to you for more! The ‘chatbots’ can create magical-moments here by greeting with their names and anticipating their queries and solving it proactively without asking or approaching.
Boost the pre-booking experience: Much of the staff’s precious time and manpower is consumed in following up with the guest’s arrival and suggesting amenities like on-site car rental, spa and salon treatments, making arrangements for special occasions — be it via calls or even automated emails. Wouldn’t you rather invest that valuable time elsewhere? Here is where you can give way to automation in your hotel business.
Let chatbots take care of sending automated offers and deals and perform follow ups with your customers. What’s more — guests can now check-in to their hotel room prior to their arrival at the hotel with a small chat on their bot-equipped smartphone.
Custom-tailored recommendations: Chatbots are ideal for customer centric-businesses and destinations. They can serve as 24/7 front-end customer care specialists and they are capable of totally transforming visitor servicing in destinations after hours. Frequently asked questions and inquiries can be answered any time of the day or night, including when travelers are arriving at a hotel and the visitor information centre / welcome centre is closed. With chatbots, the check-in/out is a cakewalk because you don’t have to wait for the staff to solve your query. Chatbots can also render you hyper-personalized recommendations based on your behavior and preference by promoting relationship management.
This may sound as a contradiction, but bots are really great at managing relationships with human beings. With thoughtful and diligent pre-programming, chatbots can supplement the entire travel/stay experience in a hotel, beginning with automated pre-arrival reminders, to suggesting nearby entertainment spots and transportation facilities at destination. The best part of chatbots- they stay connected with the guests up to their post-departure. Also, you can ask for feedbacks and reviews on a chatbot.
Chatbots for room-service: Using a chatbot for room service meal orders is much more efficient than having a guest calling the kitchen. Chatbots can provide photos of the menus, enabling guests to click and instantly order. With proper integration into the hotel’s system, a chatbot can provide the guest updates on how long the wait will be before meal arrives and what the total of the order was. A guest can also demand a fresh set of towels or blanket over chatbots, the query will travel to the respective department and without any hassle, the guest will get what he/she needs or demands at the moment.
Chatbots for skyrocketing revenues: The hotel industry is known for paying big bucks for the traffic they generate mainly through paid ads and promotions. The chatbots make sure that those bucks are not wasted by engaging the traffic that comes into your website and ultimately reducing bounce. What’s better? Chatbots can be used as a reservation channel to get direct booking. Be it on the hotel’s website or Facebook Messenger, chatbots can be integrated anywhere and guess what! Nobody needs to manage this particular platform as the chatbot takes care of the entire process. With chatbots, the bounce rate of your website will decrease and the guests will feel more engaged and loyal towards your brand than before.
What things a chatbot need to have for the hotel business?
Quick check-in/out: A chatbot can also help guests check in and out on the fly with their mobile device. That’s right. Now welcome your guests to the new era of hotel entry, which is keyless, cardless and is re-defining the standards of guest experience. As in the case of 17 Marriott Hotels, the Marriott mobile app is now the room key for guests enabling them to skip the front desk and check-in to gain access to their room and other hotel services.
Mobile check-ins are a major win-win for both hoteliers and guests. Staff time is freed up and can be invested in engaging with more important things — the guests. Exhausted travelers are saved from the trouble of standing in queues for the check-in process and can head straight to what they were promised — a delightful experience!
Instant notifications: Personalization options are endless, so the hotel can deliver tailor-made offers to the guests directly via chat at any point of time — be it before, during or after their stay. Your customer will be incredibly amazed if you offer them a complimentary spa once you learn that that’s how they love to pamper themselves. But is it really possible to hire representatives that spend time in learning guests’ preferences and then start sending out so many relevant notifications from time to time? That too to each and every guest? Of course not!
Chatbots let you invest that precious staff time elsewhere as they can be programmed to automate and enhance the on-site experience for guests. Automated push messages and follow ups with guests are going to replace those conventional promotional messages that keep popping up from time-to-time and eventually get blocked by irritated customers.
Integrated payment gateway: Your chatbot must quickly direct guests down the booking path so remember to integrate a fast and efficient booking engine. Also, you must be able to collect payments directly from your chatbot platforms. You will love the way Hotelogix and Checkfront — two great property management systems (PMS), integrate all critical operations of your hotel on one platform. Be it your hotel’s front desk, accounts, your restaurants, your staff will always be up-to-date with real time information at hand.
Advantages of chatbots in a hotel website:
24*7 presence and availability: That’s true, isn’t it? I’m sure most of you have experienced listening to the boring music playing while you’re kept on hold by a customer care agent. On an average people spend 7 minutes until they are assigned to an agent. Gone are the days of waiting for the next available operative.
Bots are replacing live chat and other forms of contact such as emails and phone calls. Since chat bots are basically virtual robots they never get tired and continue to obey your command. They will continue to operate every day throughout the year without requiring to take a break. This improves your customer satisfaction and helps you rank highly in your sector.
Savings: If you are a business owner you are bound have a lot of employees who need to be paid for the work they do. And these expenses just keep adding up as business grows. Chatbots are a one time investment which helps businesses reduce down on staff required. You could integrate a customer support chatbot in your business to cater to simple queries of customers and pass on only the complex queries to customer support agents.
Redefine customer experience: Humans react to others based on their mood and emotions. If a agent is having a good attitude or is in good mood he will most probably talk to customers in a good way. In contrary to this the customer will not be satisfied. Whereas chatbots are bound by some rules and obey them as long as they’re programmed to. They always treat a customer in the most polite and perfect way no matter how rough the person is. Also, in the travel and hospitality industry where travelers do not speak the same language, a bot can be trained to communicate in the language of the traveler.
Automation at its best: Let's be honest, no one likes doing the same work again and again over brief period of time. In the case of humans, such tasks are prone to errors. Chatbots now help automate tasks which are to be done frequently and at the right time. Also, now there are numerous slack bots which automate repetitive tasks. This helps people save time and increase productivity.
Better guest engagement: Most businesses these days have a web presence. But with being on the internet, boundaries of day and night, availability and unavailability have changed, so have user expectations. This is probably the biggest reason to use them. Bots give the user an interactive experience. It makes customers feel they are working with someone to help resolve their issue. If done right, bots can help customers find what they are looking for and make them more likely to return.
So, now you know the importance of chatbots, how can you integrate one on your hotel website as well as what are the points that needs to be consider. It’s the right time to implement a bot on your website so that you can stay in the game for the longer run! Trilyo thrives to boost and improve your existing customer engagement thereby enhancing brand relevance & boosting your brand advocacy. So, wait for nothing! Go for a free trial to explore the magic of the voice and chat-based solutions for your business.