The hospitality industry is one of those industries in which warmth, personalization and customer satisfaction remain critical components to capture, retain and foster brand loyalty and ensuring bottom-line profitability. In this blog, we’ll discuss how chatbots are proving to be an effective solution for bridging the emotive personalization gap between hospitality businesses and the guest experience.
Chatbots have become a significant technological trend for many important reasons. Before discussing how chatbots can transform the guest experience let’s understand the different benefits of bots from both guest-facing and business-facing perspectives.
Key Guest-Facing Benefits of Chatbots
- Nothing is more frustrating to a guest than having to wait for a response whether it is on the phone, on email or while queuing up to meet a customer services agent in person. Chatbots are available instantaneously, and customers appreciate, first and foremost, the ability to have simple questions answered quickly.
- Chatbots are also available 24/7 and accessible anywhere, anytime, on multiple online platforms, which makes access to the business easy and effortless.
- Instantaneous access means that problems can be resolved quickly.
Key Business-Facing Benefits of Chatbots
- Chatbots enable you to scale up your operations quickly in a cost-effective manner because of their ability to handle unlimited conversations simultaneously. This also means that chatbots are able to bring in exponentially more business via leads.
- Chatbots enable you to tap into a younger or more tech-savvy market that is increasingly mobile and prefers chat conversations to live ones.
- Chatbots also drive the benefits of engagement, feedback, insight into consumer behavior trends, as well as mass marketing, on a significantly larger scale.
- Chatbots help in understanding the likes and dislikes of guests and tailoring the services accordingly
Transforming the Guest Experience with Chatbots
The hospitality industry covers a large berth of businesses including hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, nightclubs, resorts, travel agencies and tour operators. Chatbots have a number of different applications that can be tailor-made to suit the requirements of each business and its corresponding customer or guest profiles. Consider a few examples of such applications:
1. Virtual Assistance for Booking Rooms/Flights or Specific Services
Traditionally guests have always had to call in or use online platforms to book rooms/flights or packages. Chatbots are available instantaneously which means that guests no longer need to wait for a response. Chatbots are also available 24/7 and can even send multilingual responses, which adds more convenience to the guests. from check-in
A chatbot can also personalize the guest experience by offering options, recommendations, and custom solutions as well as answering any specific questions the guest may have. Here is an example of a live chatbot conversation that simulates this interaction on a basic level:
[Chatbot: I am the XYZ Hotel bot! How may we be of assistance today?
Guest: Hi! I’d like to know what your lowest room rate is?
Chatbot: How many guests will be staying?
Chatbot: Thank you. Our lowest room category rate starts at $29 per night for a standard double room. Please see a detailed list of our options along with their prices below.]
Chatbots can even handle ad-hoc requests, concierge requirements or more complicated requests such as:
[Guest: I’m running late because of my delayed flight. Can you check me in early?
Chatbot: Sure I can help you with that! At what time are you likely to reach the hotel. Our standard check-in is at 3 PM
Guest: 7.30 PM
Chatbot: okay, done I have checked you in! Please contact the reception desk for your room keys on arrival.]
2. Insight Driven Services
Chatbots are a rich source of data on consumer behaviour, trends, and preferences achieved in many different ways. Feedback and survey options given during a conversation collect data on the guest experience, what they liked and what they didn’t like which is valuable fodder when it comes to improving services or marketing your business’ most attractive features.
Consistent collection of data over the long term can pinpoint trends in the types of questions that customers ask the most. For instance, if “How can I contact the Spa to book a massage?’’ is your most frequently asked question’, it’s time to ensure that the answer to this is more clearly articulated or presented to the consumer in your website or overall communications strategy. Pre-emption and over-delivering on expectations are essential to creating the perfect guest experience. Chatbots also can be used to create attractive schemes or manage the workforce more optimally. Chatbots help in creating a very personalized experience by understanding the likes and dislikes of guests in general and loyal guests in particular.
Marketing Communications That Wow the Guest
Given their potential and reach, chatbots are an effective way to channelize marketing communications that can generate genuine returns. It is important to mention here that spamming offers only serves to turn off customers and may actually stop them from wanting to come back.
On the other hand, specific marketing messages that look like they’ve been customized for the guest are mostly welcome and/or appreciated by guests. Here are some examples:
[Chatbot: We saw your inquiry about the Lakeview Suite from before. We are offering a 25% discount on the room rates if you book between 1st to 15th July. Would you like to know more? ]
[Chatbot: You’ve accumulated enough loyal points for a free nights’ stay at our hugely popular Club Oriental Suite. Book your stay now before your points expire! ]
Going the Extra Mile
Last but not the least, chatbots can also direct complex requests that are beyond its scope (inquiries, complaints, troubleshooting etc.) to human administrators who can ensure that the guest receives a call or personal attention to have the matter addressed satisfactorily.
Looking at the upward trajectory that chatbots have been experiencing in recent times, there is no doubt that chatbots are here to stay. In an environment where more and more businesses are seeking to outvie each other to capture and retain customer loyalty, the adoption of chatbot technology, especially in the hospitality industry is a fundamental no-brainer.
If you’re looking to implement chatbots for your business, you might be interested in checking out our enterprise chatbot builder platform – BotCore. Deployable both on cloud and on-premise environments, BotCore is used by several Fortune 500 and large enterprises to build custom chatbots for their customers and employees.