The hospitality industry, whose foundation is built on customer service, can benefit the most with mobile apps. In the hotel industry, hospitality is paramount. However, customer engagement can get quite pricey and hotels cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars on it. The solution? Chatbots.
A chatbot is a piece of software that simulates auditory or textual conversations with a human being. It’s similar to what Siri is for iOS users and what OK Google is for Android users, a program that you can have a conversation with.
With brands such as Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner introducing chatbots on their platforms, connecting with customers has become easier than ever. Major hotel chains such as Marriott and Hyatt are also seeing the potential of chatbots and trying to incorporate them into their mobile apps. Here are five ways how chatbots will help hotels build a better customer service platform.
- Going the extra mile – It is common for hotels to send automated emails a few days before the guests’ arrival. With chatbots, they can customize guest services, allowing them to choose what amenities they want in their room or during their stay such as airport transfers, dinner reservations, and so on. For example, a guest may have planned a surprise getaway for their partner. A chatbot can collect this information and ensure the room is decorated before the guests arrive or plan a candlelight dinner, making their stay more memorable.
- Better reservations – When booking flights or hotels, you often find the options available as – choose hotels, choose dates, and pay. There is nothing else offered that can leverage your experience. Using chatbots, hotels are able to ‘recommend’ the best of their offerings, interacting directly with customers and reducing the dependency on travel agents.
- Real-time interaction – Some people use their travel time to get away from the crowd, noise, and basically other people. Chatbots can provide sightseeing recommendations, take room service orders, and provide notifications on spa pricing or restaurant seating availability when the guest requests for it. Therefore, guests can keep interactions with strangers to a minimum and still enjoy hotel amenities to the fullest.
- Free hotel staff – Traditional customer service includes a human-to-human interaction. Hotels should have dedicated staff members attending to guest queries day and night. This would cost them a pretty penny. By introducing chatbots into their mobile apps, hotels are able to assign their staff in providing services to guests. Having more staff means guests are well taken care of and are more satisfied with the hotel’s hospitality.
- Anytime availability – Chatbots don’t sleep. They are programs that can run any time of the day and answer queries from customers in any part of the world. Even if a user does not intend to book a room or package, they can still ask questions and find out about the hotel whenever they want. This way, they are aware of what the hotel offers and make an informed decision well in advance. Plus, the conversational tone of the chatbot gives the interaction a human touch, making it less robotic and more personal.
Chatbots aren’t intended to, and nor will they ever replace the traditional form of communication. However, they can ease the need for additional staffing as well as alleviate guest experiences in hotels. The emergence of chatbot developers in Singapore has enabled a number of seasoned and upcoming hotels to develop their own chatbots. This way, they are able to customize experiences for both business and leisure travelers.
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Also published on Medium.