Why is a chatbot not enough for your hotel anymore?
When chatbots were born, they were part of many industries and hospitality was no exception.
With the workload hotel staff has, the number of repetitive questions they need to reply to every day, over and over again, and the need for lack of physical contact caused by the Covid-19 strike, chatbots became a needed tool.
Chatbots in hospitality take care of the repetitive and administrative tasks that need to be done every day because they are the basis for a guest’s stay to happen. Some of these are replying to FAQs, automating reservations, taking customer inquiries 24/7 and providing instant information.
A guest needs to make a reservation, has inquiries and wants information. If a hotel does not provide that, they are not fulfilling the basics.
However, the guest experience goes even further. Nowadays it is not just about answering guests’ questions in a quick manner, it is also about personalisation and relationship.
They want to feel heard, seen and taken care of. A chatbot is a good start to streamline your operations, but it is not enough to boost the results of your accommodation business, increase guest satisfaction and make your guests come back to your hotel.
Why is this happening and how can you make the most out of a chatbot and still pay attention to the other areas? Here are some points to keep in mind.
A chatbot is a reactive tool
A chatbot works according to the guest’s initiative. If they ask a question, the chatbot replies. That is why it is considered a reactive tool. It reacts to an initial message, it answers what others are asking.
With this, hotel operations are more efficient and lower customer effort by allowing guests to get answers quickly, but you do not add value to their journey. In other words, you are not taking control, only reacting and answering what they ask you.
Chatbots are great for answering your visitors when your staff is busy. They help you to start improving the guest experience and make life easier for hotel staff.
However, you need to take it further. To really boost your results, the key is to focus on the entire guest journey. This is what will help you to build an outstanding guest experience.
In a survey conducted by Deloitte, 75% of travellers said they would return to the hotel more frequently if they had a great experience. This means, fast service is good, but also taking care of guests at every stage of their journey: from booking to post-stay.
If you want to be unique and stand out from other accommodation businesses, you must provide your guests with an unforgettable experience, and using a chatbot is just the beginning of your path toward that goal.
Why look at the whole guest journey?
Thus, the real question is: how can you personalise each stage of the guest journey? And what tools can help you with that?
There are a lot of examples of how you can personalise communication with guests, but summing up, you need to send the right message to the right guest at the right time. And for that, you need the right tools to complement the chatbot.
- Gather and organise guest data to know who your guests are
Different guests have different needs and goals with their stay, so you need a tool to gather and organise reliable guest data from several platforms, such as the PMS system, F&B, and OTAs. By doing this, you can have real guest profiles to base yourself on and know your guests.
- Send personalised offers
59% of customers claim that receiving personalised content has a major impact on their purchasing decisions. Once you know who your guests are, you are able to personalise the messages you send them, instead of a “one-size fits all” approach.
By sending relevant offers to the right guest, you enhance your upselling opportunities while showing guests you care about them and want them to have the best during their stay.
- Enable two-way communication
It’s not about sending an e-mail or message that will never get a reply or getting a reply that takes days to come, it’s about sending and receiving messages almost the same way you do when texting with friends.
This goes both from the hotelier side and the guest side, if you send a message and start a conversation, you build a connection and engage with guests. A good way to do so is to reach guests through several communication channels (such as WhatsApp, SMS, etc.) rather than simply e-mail. This has proven to have 8 times higher conversion rates.
- Make the guest feel in control
Enable guests to have full access to every single detail of their reservation and events in the hotel at all times. This should not be simply all the information regarding the booking, but also for additional services and information or any other relevant access they need. In this way, they feel safe and in control.
From reactive to proactive - the key to a successful guest journey
Overall, using a chatbot allows you to make sure your routine operations run smoothly, and react to what guests want to know in an efficient way.
However, by complementing it with other tools that personalise guests’ experience further you can have a holistic approach, take care of the whole guest journey and make them feel special. By making them feel heard and seen, you increase guest satisfaction and loyalty, as well as revenue opportunities.
If you want to know more about how you can implement a proactive and holistic approach to enhance your results, schedule a free consultation with our experts!