More than half a century on, bots are finally beginning to win. Let’s explore why you need to give these ‘human wannabes’ a go?
25-year old Mary is looking to find accommodation for her next holiday. What do you think she will do?
Dial a helpline?
Visit a website from her mobile device?
Or, type hotels in [city]?
Mary is one of the many travellers who are always connected, and pretty much always on mobile. They want instant responses and have given rise to a generation that is reliant on instant messaging – even for customer support. They’ve moved away from phone support and hoteliers need to recognise this shift.
According to Facebook IQ, by the end of 2018, 78% of the world’s smartphone users will message every month. And, the growth is only expected to continue. By 2021, it’s predicted that the global user base for mobile messaging apps will have risen by a further 23%.
More than two billion business-related messages are sent through Facebook Messenger chats according to Facebook IQ. 67% of study participants expressed expectations of having the possibility to get in touch with the sellers and service providers by means of chats. And their expectations have materialised completely.
This is just one channel. We have not even begun telling you about data coming from platforms such as WhatsApp and even your own website!
What’s very clear is that the need to get on the chatbot bandwagon is rising rapidly. If you want to attract the likes of Mary, grow your bookings and provide better customer service, you must consider a chatbot.
Where chatbots are winning?
Boosting online revenue. Big bucks are spent in getting traffic to your website. While smart features such as WatchMyRate by STAAH do their bit in optimizing conversion, chatbots add a level of engagement that can further help reduce bounce and booking abandonment. Chatbots can be integrated as a reservation agent on your social channels and website, driving up bookings.
Machine learning (artificial intelligence or AI) has taken bots to a whole new level. These little assistants are masters at upselling and cross-selling, without being intrusive.
As they learn more and more about your business and the user, chatbots able to personalise a sale that resembles very closely what their human counterparts can do – at a much lower cost!
Better customer service. Chatbots are serving 24/7 and answering routine queries, processing bookings. For the always-connected generation – and even the older ones – this is the level of service that’s becoming standard. Queries can come anytime – your chatbot is always there to convert these into bookings. Automation is the way of the future and chatbots are born for it.
Saving time and money. Chatbots bring in a level of efficiency into the business that is hard to ignore. Bots can be trained to take over the repetitive tasks, relieving your staff off them and freeing up their time to make other improvisations.
Consider this: chatbots are interactive, multilingual, available 24×7, handle multiple concurrent chats, automate FAQs and apt at lead generation. From an efficiency perspective alone, it makes immense sense bringing them on.
Chatbots can be nested on multiple channels – website, social media and consumer messaging apps – all channels your guests are using. Think about the investment required to man and maintain these channels in the absence of a bot!
Providing valuable insights. As they go about their work of making a booking or checking a guest in, bots do something invaluable. Born out of machine learning, these helpers keep acquiring more data and enable you to deliver a highly personalised service. You can use them to keep in touch after check out and build a loyal base of customers.
On-property guests. Imagine if your guests have an option of not picking up the room phone and yet be able to send service requests for laundry pick-up, order room service, order amenities, book a spa session and leave feedback and reviews. Chatbots can do all this, and more.
Overall, chatbots are already helping increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty and this just the beginning. Their success lies in how they are built and the data used. Luckily, there are many start-ups that can help you do this.