What are chatbots?
According to Wikipedia, a chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, IM bot, interactive agent, or Artificial Conversational Entity) 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. 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.
Chatbots for hyper-personalized 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 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 right from the pre-arrival stage to post-departure.
Chatbots for multilingual
We comprehend that sometimes, language is a barrier and we can’t do anything about it. Let’s take a scenario where a foreigner comes to your hotel and starts conversing with the front-desk but the receptionist is unaware of the language and communication-gap arises! For obvious reasons this is not good for your brand, so what you can do is – have a chatbot on your website and the guest can talk with the bot! Since, the bot is not human and is built on NLP, it can understand any language without breaking a sweat. Now language is not a barrier; it’s just another mode of conversation.
Chatbots for room-service
“We think that chatbots are the beginning of a new form of digital access, which centers on messaging.” Christie Pitts, Manager- Ventures Development of Verizone Ventures. 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 instant.
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 decreaseand the guests will feel more engaged and loyal towards your brand than before.
Chatbots for upselling and cross-selling
Chatbots are darn efficient 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. Build a chatbot around guests and not hotels to see how chatbots can deliver you ‘happier’ guests than ever before.