May 6, 2021 7:15:00 AM
4 Reasons Why Chatbots are the Perfect Concierges for Hotels
Having worked for almost 10 years in the hospitality industry on 5 different continents gave me a great insight into the world of customer service.
Now working for over a year as a Customer Success Manager at Solvemate deep diving into digitalization, process automation and enabling new ways of creating meaningful conversations, I see great opportunities for the hospitality industry.
It’s needless to say that the main goal of hotels is to make guests happy. Nowadays, one of the key factors to achieve this is meeting the high digital expectations of guests. In today’s world people expect retrieving information and service instantly. When there is a problem, you don't want to waste time looking for a number to call or an email to write - you want to have the problem to be solved directly. And even more so when you’re on vacation or about to head there. People expect a frustration-free zone where they can relax and be pampered.
So the question is, why are there only a few hoteliers acting on this worldwide trend?
One digital novelty of this century are chatbots. According to Business Insider ‘the global chatbot market anticipated to reach $9.4 billion by 2024.’ Industries like eCommerce understood the extent and possibilities of chatbots and adapted quickly. However, the tourism industry and in particular hotels are still hesitant and only a small friction of only a few large hotel chains have looked into building chatbots to integrate them into their digitalization strategy.
What is the reason for this? Maybe some hoteliers had a bad experience with a chatbot or fear of not having the necessary IT ressources? Maybe some hoteliers emphasize on the importance of ‘real human interaction’ in such a service-oriented industry?
Read more on Busted: 5 common myths about chatbots
Some hoteliers have understood and acted fast. “Rose” at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas was one of the first chabots in the hotel industry. "Rose" is a famous chatbot persona that maintains a rather flirty tone with guests. She’s introduced as the “Resident Mischief-Maker and Digital Concierge” and can hook guests up with dinner recommendations, special events or a fresh towel.
If integrated well, technologies are excellent at reducing guest problems and improving communication between hotel and guests. This can be done with little to no tech ressources. Bots can even be a major entertaining factor to engage the guests as the Cosmopolitan shows. Like in any other industry the main goal of everyone is solving problems as fast and efficient as possible. So the combination of automation and human interaction is and will be more and more the key to offering a great service experience.
Therefore hoteliers should not be afraid. Bots assist humans and only take care of repetitive and simple requests, while having the advantage of being able to handle multiple interactions at the same time.
So How Exactly Can Chatbots Help a Hotel?
Chatbots can handle all sorts of requests that rise among the guest journey.
They can not only assist on pre-stay topics like upgrades, check-in or room amenities, but can also be super helpful during the guests' stay in the role of the concierge or guest services department. The possibilities are endless and it’d be a shame to miss out on them.
The Perfect Stay
Imagine you’re seeking suggestions on what to do in the surroundings of the hotel. The chatbot could ask you a few questions to learn about your interests and suggest a nice afternoon program accordingly - including the possibility of reserving a table at a restaurant that serves your favorite cuisine! The provided information includes appetizing pictures and the menu of that restaurant. Isn’t that just the perfect definition of having a care-free vacation?
Or imagine you want to have an extra towel and all you have to do are 2 clicks inside the chatbot until the towel arrives at your hotel room. You can even do it right from your comfortable place in the bathtub if you have your smartphone at hand.
And to add the icing on the cake, imagine that at the end of the stay you can check out and pay your bill via the chatbot and receive a copy of it automatically, without having to queue in front of the check-out desk at the lobby. Who wouldn’t want their vacation to end as stressless as in this scenario?
More Than Convenience
One of the best skills of a chatbot is that it can help 24/7. Hoteliers can't plan when guests have problems or questions. Some guests might be night owls and want to book a massage for the next day during the night. Others are sporty early risers and while running past the hotel’s close restaurant, they remember they wanted to book a table for tonight. Integrated with the booking system of the spa and the restaurant, the bot is able to make a reservation for both at any time of the day. This is not only pure convenience, it’s a great service experience which will make your guests return.
Offer Personal, Multilingual Support
One important topic in the hospitality industry is the multicultural exposure. Hotels are a place where people arrive from all over the world and the language barrier can be difficult. Yes, receptionists do speak many languages, but how easy would it be for everyone if the chatbot could cater to all international guests by speaking languages including those that are not spoken at the front desk? Chatbots are always fluent in multilinguality and this adds an even more personal touch to the service.
Gain Insights for Greater Guest Loyalty
Chatbots don’t only have immediate benefits for the customer, they are both in the short and long run a valuable source for the hotel. All interactions with the chatbot can be analyzed and evaluated, leading to a deeper understanding of the guests. This is very important knowledge for hotels as knowing the guests' preferences and habits lead to the ability to create personalized offers that are tailored to their unique guests needs, which definitely boosts their loyalty. And yes, guests loyalty is one of the results of guests satisfaction and therefore goal number 1 of every hotelier.
One Last Note on Hotel Chatbots
Chatbots will continue to evolve and improve over the next few years. But even with the technology as of today, the hotel industry will have a great benefit, as long as there is the possibility to hand over a conversation to a hotel employee via live chat or phone when the chatbot can no longer help. The prejudice that all chatbots need a lot of tech resources is mostly wrong and the benefits for guests and hoteliers are so powerful, that sooner or later every hotelier should invest some time on this topic.
Andrea is one of the customer success managers at Solvemate. Her mission is to create a successful service strategy with the help of AI based chatbots together with her customers. When she is not building chatbots, she spends most of her time in nature doing outdoor sports.