At the pace in which technology is changing, it’s not only hard to know the new trends; you need to understand the lingo first. The latest ‘in thing’ in hotel technology is Chatbot.
So ‘what’s a Chatbot?’ one may ask; a Chatbot is a service that allows you to interact with either a person or artificial intelligence via a chat interface. It could be a recreational or functional interaction which can be used via any chat product like Facebook messenger, Telegram, Text Messages etc.
Since users are now spending a considerable time on messaging apps, Chatbots have a huge potential in the hotel industry.
In April 2016 Facebook announced Facebook Messenger’s chatbot platform for business, which can be a great tool for the hotel industry, it can help hotels reach out to a much larger user base via automated robots. A Facebook Messenger chatbot can be more efficient than the hotel’s own app since Facebook Messenger works independent of Smartphone or Operating System type, i.e. Android or an IPhone. Guests would experience a similar access to technology and service with the Facebook messenger Chatbot irrespective of the system or build of phone.
Edwardian Hotels in London, a Radisson Blu brand, was one of the first hotels to launch their own artificial intelligent chat bot; ‘Edward’. ‘Edward would help respond to guest queries within seconds. This can enhance guest experience; the guest can now place requests with the hotel via the bot whether it is for extra amenities or a reservation to the hotel’s spa. Hotels can also communicate special deals, or promotions to the guests via this 2-way interaction.
Apart from the above benefits, Chatbots ensure a more personalized experience for the hotel guests. They also act as additional revenue generator since it’s a great tool to upsell the hotels’ various point of sales. Hotels can interact with the guest prior to arrival via a chatbot, find out their preferences and suggest any special services accordingly.
Chatbots can also be integrated with a hotel’s PMS and can be a powerful tool in gathering essential data about the hotel’s guests. Hotels can tailor personalised experiences for their guests based on the information they would have already gathered and stored in their systems. Hotels just need to ensure that they find the right balance in terms of using the stored data at a discreet level so that the guests never feel threatened by the amount of data a hotel has on them.
Hotels have a huge opportunity with chatbots and should strongly look at the prospect of implementing it with their property whether it is via bots created by Facebook or creating their own bots.