In the past, you may have found chatbots to be a frustrating experience that required intervention by a live employee. However, technology has vastly improved in recent years. Today’s hospitality chatbots are smarter, more reliable and more self-sufficient.
We have answered the three fundamental questions about hospitality chatbots which will help you understand the numerous benefits of implementing this tool.
1. Why hospitality chatbots?
As hotel chatbots continue to improve, people will grow to expect them as a customer service option—and may even prefer them over human service. In fact, a Global Web Index survey last year found that nearly 4 out of 10 internet users prefer to use automated services rather than speak to a customer service representative.
Guest queries are repetitive. Studies have shown that 63% of incoming queries were from the same eight questions, 91% were 1 from the same 18 questions.
People expect messaging – during the pandemic, private messaging app usage increased by 45% worldwide according to Statista.
The tool saves staff time to allow them to provide better service in other operations.
Supports social distancing and helps avoid queues at reception since it supports the communication of COVID 19 protocols.
2. Where would we use a chatbot?
The chatbot is a tool which is present throughout all the stages of the guest journey.
Look. It starts in the process of when the client is looking for an accommodation, where the chatbot answers the questions guests have when they are researching your hotel. The questions can be the following, for example, “Do you allow pets? Do you have allergy-free rooms? Is the kids club open? What are your COVID-19 policies?”
Book. The next stage is when the client is ready to book at your property. The tool is useful because it increases your direct bookings by guiding the guest through the process on your website. Questions such as “Do you have a room for two available next weekend? What are your summer deals for families?” would be answered automatically by the chatbot.
Pre-stay. Once the client has booked with you, the automated chatbot will send a pre-stay message a few days before their stay asking if they have any special requests upon arrival. This technology can be modified and can adapt to current situations, such as in this case the global pandemic. It can send a message to the guest at their time of arrival to wait in the bar area and that it will inform them once their room is ready. This allows a personalized experience without having to come into direct contact with anyone.
In-stay. During their stay, this tool can be connected to guests via their preferred messaging service (SMS, Whatsapp, Messenger, etc.) and will respond instantly to in-stay needs and queries. It facilitates the guest communication with the staff, by coordinating questions such as, “Can I have a late check-out? What time does the pool open? Can I have an extra pillow? Please fix my shower, it is leaking.”
Post-stay. As we all know, the guest journey does not end when they leave the property. The post-stay experience of a guest is just as important as the rest. An automated chatbot remains at the availability of the customer, for example, if a guest were to forget their iPad in their hotel room after checking-out, they can send a direct message to ask whether the housekeeping found it. It serves as a useful tool for making future reservations, guests can always rely on sending your chatbot a question about future stays. You can even send your post-stay surveys via a message.
3. How does a chatbot fit into my operations?
The tool partners directly with messaging – chatbots talk to guests via their preferred messaging channel, be that SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, or WeChat.
Plug and play – the best chatbots come pre-trained, and pose minimum strain on operations, allowing you to answer guest queries from day one.
Supports staff – by filtering out repetitive questions, hospitality chatbots free up time for your front desk or call center staff.
Integrates with my existing systems – chatbots can be integrated with automation systems to notify the necessary department when it receives a request.
Helps support guest experience management – answering requests quickly and freeing up staff time boosts guest experience, collecting data on repeated questions via automation integrations ensures you keep tabs on where you can improve at your hotel.
Provides ROI – chatbot increases conversions on your website, boosts direct bookings, improves the efficiency of your customer service, and allows insight into making better operational decisions at your hotel.
The benefits of implementing an automated chatbot in the hospitality industry are undeniable. The question is, when will you embrace it?