The customer experience is the pivotal point for every hospitality organization. As much as a good experience can create the best marketing avenue for the organization, a poor experience can lead to severe reputational damage. Staying engaged with guests, responding to their enquiries speedily, and attending to any problems immediately is a simple strategy to ensure the quality of the guest experience.
This is where chatbots can step in. Conversational chatbots can be the perfect assistant for the hospitality staff in delivering personalized and engaging experiences. From simple rule-based chatbots to AI-based chatbots, this technology has developed over the years to become a simple yet powerful solution in the hospitality industry. Unsurprisingly, the global chatbot market has been on the rise for the past few years, with it expected to grow to $9.4 billion in 2024 at an annual compound growth rate of 29.7%, according to Business Insider.
What does a chatbot do?
Chatbots use Natural Language Processing to extract specific information from conversations, be it text-based, speech-to-text, or speech-to-speech conversations. It allows the chatbot to identify the purpose of the message and select the appropriate auto-response or direct the enquiry to a human agent. Once the intent is recognised, chatbots can also search its database and provide answers or relevant resources. For instance, if a guest asks the in-hotel chatbot for directions to the hotel spa, the chatbot can pull up a map and provide interactive directions instantly. On the other hand, if a guest wants to set up a special dinner for their partner’s birthday, the chatbot can forward the request to the relevant staff member.
How does it enhance customer experience?
Instant, 24/7 service
It is hardly a secret, that customers hate to wait, whether in a physical queue or a digital conversation. It is especially challenging for the hospitality sector since customer queries can come from all over the globe from different time zones. Besides, a guest who needs assistance at 3 am is not going to be happy if they have to wait for an operator to pick up their requests.
A hotel chatbot can instantly assist customers with round-the-clock support, eliminating most waiting times. Even when the staff is unavailable, chatbots can continue to support the guests, creating a seamless experience. Moreover, since chatbots can cater to multiple requests at once, customers can get instant services even on the busiest days.
AI-based chatbots are programmed to analyse information received throughout a string of conversations with a particular customer to identify their preferences. They can use this information to provide suggestions that are relevant and personalized. This information will also be useful in more personalized upselling and cross-selling. Moreover, these chatbots can generate reports and analytic data that enable the hotel staff to identify customer trends and effectively cater to them.
Another impressive feature of chatbots is that they can be configured to accommodate multiple languages, dialects, emojis, and even typos. Customers are undoubtedly going to be delighted to be interacting with digital services that can cater to them in their comfort zone instead of making them second-guess their language skills.
Support throughout the guest journey
Chatbots can create a consistent and seamless guest journey from pre-booking to post-stay. This technology can detect customers who linger in the booking process and offer assistance as required. Chatbots can also guide the guest through their stay, suggesting activities and services based on the guest profile. Once the guest is ready to checkout, a chatbot can pick up guest feedback, taking in both positive and negative comments, making the guest’s opinions feel heard and acknowledged. Even after the guest has left the establishment, chatbots can reach them on various channels and let them know about any hotel updates and ongoing promotions.
Moreover, with AI-based chatbots, there won’t be any missed customer queries or missed tasks. These chatbots can be set up with notification and reminder systems to notify the staff about any job pending with a particular customer.
In the era of social distancing and personalized services, chatbots can drive conversations and enable meaningful engagement with customers. The relevant and attentive service chatbots provide comes a long way in creating seamless and memorable experiences for customers.