Chatbot, what’s that!? While the word might sound complex or unheard of at first, but the truth is, this breakthrough technological advancement is quickly attracting a lot of eyeballs. Hotel owners and marketers have already begun to harness its capabilities. The occurrence of chatbots into the scheme of things isn’t a story that dates long back. Their inception in the service sector is relatively recent, early 2016 to be precise. Within a year of their arrival, all the major technology firms jumped on the boat of creating a framework backed by AI to replicate or adopt hotel chatbots model and infuse chatbots in the hospitality industry.
Now what a chatbot does is pretty simple at least in theory. It takes in your preferences as to the type of hotel you need, searches through its complex database and finds the best match for you. That’s not it; it can give you hyper-personalized suggestions regarding your search. It is making the entire process of booking the hotel a lot more convenient and more straightforward on the part of the customer and highly efficient for the hotel owners. According to researches, by 2020, almost over 80% of the hospitality industry will be using chatbots for hotels, in some form or the other.
Now let us look at some of the innovative ways to use hotel chatbots to enhance guest experience:
1. Reduce Workload of Hotel Staff
The influx of chatbots in managing the day to day affairs of the hotels, right from booking a stay for the guest, making purchases, choosing upgrades and more, could go a long way in reducing direct human interaction and thereby minimizing their efforts. In the coming years, when exploited to its maximum potential, it might even result in eliminating the human requirement. Also, hotels that use chatbots can go a little aggressive and alert the guests of special promotions and exclusive deals for them. This way, all requests could be taken care of and be organized and automated, making life easier for everyone.
Hospitality happens to be a service industry and like in every service sector standardization plays a significant role in determining consumer experience. The more standardized and risk-free the process is the more chances it has of gaining popularity and investment and therefore, higher revenue. Handing over a massive chunk of the operations to hotel chatbots means fewer errors and near to precise job, which in turn means a better experience for the guests. Bots, unlike humans, are less prone to mistakes. They deliver a standard output each time and therefore caters to the requirements of the guest in a better and more precise manner as supposed to humans.
3. Time Efficiency
To book a hotel that matches your needs and wants, is conveniently accessible with apt amenities and is also not too heavy on your pockets, is a tough task and one which demands a lot of time. Introduction of bots can help to smoothen up the process and make it less time-taking as well. Not to forget, it can also help you with the tedious requirements everyone faces once they check-in. Chatbots could prove to be your assistant right from the time you book a hotel, throughout your entire duration of stay until the time you check out. Thus, automation of the process through bots could make the complete task of checking in, staying and checking out starkly time efficient.
4. Prompt Communication and Multilingual
Unlike humans, chatbots don’t take off days. They are present to assist you at any given time of the day. Be it a national holiday or a strike; there is no blockage on the part of bots to converse with the guest. It enhances the customer experience by making them feel special and valued. Prompt service results in better business and same is the case in the hospitality industry. If you can come up with some ways to deliver what the customer wants adequately and promptly, you have a far greater chance of getting picked over your competitors.
Also, as the system is backed by ever-improving Artificial Intelligence (AI), multilingualism is not very difficult to implement. Thus, the next time a customer pack their bags on a trip to that remote island away from their country, Chatbots can enhance their booking experience in their language.
Chatbots for hotels can cater to a significant task of profiling both for the guest and the hotel management. Guest can get personalized suggestions about the kind of hotels they might be interested in staying when traveling, based on their preferences, likes, dislikes, amenities required, etc. Similarly, for the hotels, chatbots can supply required data of people around looking for hotels and their budget so that the hotels can send exclusively customized deals for them which in turn would help them to grow their business even further.
6. Voice Assist
Another major area where chatbots might come in handy is voice assistance. For someone who is blind, willing to go on a holiday or just someone who prefers providing voice commands over typing, in general, could benefit from the wide array of AI-powered languages and voices to interact with the bots. It further reduces the time making it more efficient and easier to use. Replicating some features of premium voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri isn’t that tough considering both hotel chatbots and voice assistants work on the same architecture.
7. Cross Platform Integration
Best hotel chatbots may even be integrated with other platforms such as Google services (google home, google flights, google maps), Philips hue, Alexa, etc. to provide a completely automated environment to the guests wherein they would have to provide minimal input to reap the maximum outputs.
A model of chatbots integration could be the one where you simply book a flight to some location and the chatbots automatically provide you with suggestions of the hotels and resorts you might want to stay based upon your past behaviors and preferences and automatically allot you your desired room which indeed could again be controlled by the AI to regulate the lightings and temperatures etc, facilitating almost maximum things on its own until the time you check out. This may be an experience one will get to enjoy in a distant future. Nonetheless, there is no denying the possibilities are enormous.
Although the concept and technology of chatbots for hotels is still nascent, nonetheless it looks supremely promising, as was the case with any big tech idea upon its inception. Use of chatbots in the hospitality industry may come across as revolution as we already see with multiple refinements in the sector. Marriott Chatbot named ‘Boltr‘ a robotic butler was put to the test as a front desk operational aid. It worked with the associates and staffs to help them facilitate the requests of the guest faster and in a more precise manner.
Chatbots have their fair share of advantages as discussed above, but still, the technology is in its incubation period. As the AI system will improve, so will the functioning of hotel chatbots to embark upon a journey of becoming a more and more used piece of customer service experience. For the time being, it’s the call for the hoteliers to take how long do they want to wait before implementing this technology. Slowly but steadily we are approaching towards that time wherein Chatbots would be normal and their use inevitable.
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