The ‘chatbot’ has been a buzz-word over them past twelve months across a wide range of industries. In two years time the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse – according to Gartner.
2017 so far has seen an explosion of various chatbots available on popular messaging apps coupled with easier methods of design, implementation and management due to new platforms and integrations available to developers and organisations. All of this in collaboration with access to Artificial Intelligence engines and machine learning tools makes the modern chatbot something which has already started changing the face of the hotel industry.
Holiday Inn has become the first major hotel chain in Japan to adopt the latest artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot concierge, Bebot. Now, hotel guests who check in to Holiday Inn Osaka Namba will be serviced by Bebot. The news follows after hospitality giants such as Hilton and the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas embraced the use of AI to improve guest experiences. According to Bebot’s creators, Bespoke Inc.;
“Bebot is an AI-powered chatbot that acts as a hotel concierge. It is designed to empower guests through instant, real-time assistance such as exclusive recommendations for both popular and little-known sights in the area, answering questions only hotel staff would know about, or even making restaurant bookings.”
The consumer desire for speed of information is greater than ever. An entire generation of guests prefer not to pick up the phone to reception or talk to a human being. They are also not accustomed to waiting for someone to answer a simple question or to wait for something to be distributed. Chatbots can provide a single product solution, which addresses this type of guest across multiple different scenarios in multiple languages with very limited resources required from the hotel point of view therefore delivering a better experience whilst saving on staff costs.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen – one of the reasons to suspect that the hotel booking engine as we know it will eventually go away or at least no longer be the main focus.
From a customer experience perspective a chatbot can increment and enhance the correspondence with visitors and visitor engagement. Undoubtedly, as a messaging application, chatbots can speak to another reservation channel, which will enable customers to effortlessly discover and book their stay by means of a chat interface. Personalisation options are endless, so the hotel can deliver tailor made offers or options instantly and directly to the guest via chat at any point before, during or after their stay.
Obtaining customer reviews post stay or getting guest feedback is going to be much less invasive via a chatbot compared to traditional email marketing, which is often ignored. To be able to respond with one-click to a question will undoubtedly improve the customer engagement response rate.
Customer loyalty can be increased with a mixture of personalised, relevant content delivered by the bot in conjunction with integrations to the best communication platforms. Just imagine being able to book a room for a business trip via Slack, easier than messaging your PA!
All this is really happening right now thanks to chatbots.