Chatbots were one of the most significant trends of 2017. These small pieces of software with pre-programmed interactions allow you to communicate with them naturally and simulate the behavior of a human being within a conversational environment. It can be a standalone service or integrate within other messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger.
The adoption of these virtual assistants is growing, and brands are using chatbots in lots of exciting ways. You can order food, schedule flights and get recommendations for pretty much anything. Chatbots seemingly are the future of marketing and customer support.
The use of chatbots in the hotel industry is still evolving, but it currently encompasses a wide range of services, from hotel bookings and customer service inquiries to pre/post-stay inquiries and general travel advice.
The hotel industry can experience many benefits from the use of chatbots, among them:
- They can be used as a reservation channel to increase direct bookings.
- Since chatbots are available 24/7, they will reduce reception workload by giving guests instant and helpful answers around the clock.
- Guests can check-in/check-out on the fly with the aid of a chatbot.
- They will help independent hotels to build accurate guest profiling so that they can provide personalized offers to their guests. The hotel will be able to deliver tailor-made offers instantly and directly via chat before, during or after their stay.
- Guests can opt-in to be notified from chatbots about the places to visit, the rates of the hotel’s cars, etc.
- The ease of booking and the proactive concierge services create brand loyalty and improve guest satisfaction.
- Hoteliers will be able to obtain customer reviews post-stay via a chatbot. This is much less invasive compared to traditional email marketing, which is often ignored.
What challenges do they pose for hoteliers?
Adopting this new hotel technology involves many challenges for hoteliers. For instance:
- Independent hotels will need to simplify their booking process to accommodate chatbots.
- Hoteliers will need to provide a consistent booking experience on chatbots in comparison to other channels.
- General managers will need to monitor chatbots where there is a human element. They will need to allocate staff resources.
- Hoteliers will need to manage guest expectations since guests will expect a quick turnaround on their requests through chatbots.
As you can see, chatbots present many opportunities for hoteliers, from increasing customer loyalty to enhancing the guest experience. To keep your guests coming back for more, definitely consider joining the chatbot revolution – but only if your hotel is equipped and prepared for this big step.