The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning has led to a wide range of online marketing solutions that are driving higher conversions and improved customer service. In the hotel industry the arrival of the “hotel bot” has revolutionized the way guests can interact with a company before, during and after their stay. This trend is set to dominate the industry in 2017. But what exactly is a hotel bot and what does it do?
Firstly, a chatbot is an automated messaging service that simulates human conversation in a computer program. They are typically used for conversations with a specialized purpose. You have probably already made use of an artificial intelligence (AI) system like Apple’s “Siri’ and her big sisters –Amazon’s “Alexa” and Google Home. These voice services allow you to ask a simple question and immediately receive an answer. They are always learning and can adapt to your speech patterns and personal preferences. Your hotel chatbot is a more sophisticated AI system that can communicate with your guest 24/7 using a messenger app.
I Want It All and I Want It Now
Today’s customers want immediate gratification. They want an answer to their pressing questions about your offer. If they are looking to book accommodation for travel or work –they will want your attention straight away. It has been noted that the average online attention span is a mere eight seconds and you have to be available to engage with a potential customer in that time frame. They are not going to wait for a human response which could arrive only a day later. This is where your hotel bot can step in and have a meaningful conversation in real time to satisfy the visitor’s requests.
The Human Touch
Alan Turing, a mathematician who is known as ‘the father of computer science and artificial intelligence”, is credited with developing the technology that can convince people they are talking to a human being. When a guest feels that there is a real person on the other end of the conversation, it quickly results in conversions. The hotel bot also frees up time for employees to engage more with guests once they have arrived at the hotel and significantly reduces reception workload.
Hospitality Front Runner
Marriott was one of the first hotel chains to embrace the hotel chatbot technology. As early as May 2015 they had launched their Mobile Requests service where guests could chat directly with hotel staff 72 hours before their stay with the “Anything Else” function. They could also make use of the “Ask Anything” concierge service. Today their hotel bot facilitates you booking your own hotel room, linking accounts and even getting personalized news delivered to you. It’s a new, thriving customer channel. We at Snaps have been working with them since 2016 and are proud to power that. We also powered their Facebook Messenger Chat Extension.
With every interaction that a hotel bot has with a potential guest, valuable data is gathered. The data paints an accurate, often near real time picture of customer intent. When you really know what your customer wants, you can easily meet their needs and exceed their expectations. Being able to anticipate your guests wants allows you to build effective digital marketing campaigns that address their pain points and offer them solutions for their hospitality needs. You will be able to build accurate guest profiling thanks to the help of your trusted hotel bot and be able to provide personalized offers that will boost guest loyalty. The revenue per available room (RevPAR) will also experience a healthy increase.
So How Are Chatbots for Hotels Going to Change the Industry Forever?
One of the top hotel technology trends in 2017 was identified as…you guessed it…the hotel chatbot (according to consulting firm Activate).
Guests want more from their hotel stay than ease of booking –they want communication. Your concierge must be able to be available all day and night to cater to the guests needs. Your chatty hotel bot steps in and is always ready to talk at every single point of the customer’s lifecycle journey.
A hotel bot will be there to:
- Help you book the best deal at the hotel
- Handle your pre-arrival questions and suggest amenities and services to match your criteria. If it’s a special occasion, like a honeymoon, it might suggest making dinner reservations for you or booking a relaxing couple spa treatment.
- Be your virtual assistant by suggesting things like local recommendations for entertainment or restaurant availability with the best last minute rates
- Sync with your calendar. The hotel chatbot can contact you when it notices that you have an out of town conference and can suggest a hotel close by and offer to make a reservation for you.
- Order room service, towels, forgotten toiletries and laundry pick up.
- Check you out when your stay is over and forward a satisfaction survey as you leave the building.
What Will you Call Your Hotel Chatbot?
The ease of booking and the proactive concierge services create brand loyalty and improved guest satisfaction. Your hotel bot compliments the great services the hotel already has and brings guests attention to all of the opportunities available to them during their stay. This efficient digitalized communication enhances the guests overall experience and keeps them coming back for more.
If you want to join the hotel chatbot revolution, Snaps will show you how to navigate this powerful new landscape with the Conversational Marketing Cloud. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can start ensuring you have your very own hotel chatbot working for you 24/7.