Chatbots have gained massively in popularity over the last 12 months and are predicted to be one of the biggest trends within the digital marketing landscape for 2017. Chatbots harness a form of artificial intelligence to become a member of your customer service team, meaning they can handle a variety of tasks. The specificis of what chatbots are able to handle all comes down to their programming, so fundamentally there are millions of tasks that can be handed to chatbots, depending on how invested you are happy to be.
Working in messenger style platforms, chatbots saw a massive surge in popularity when Facebook launched their Messenger Chatbot platform last April. Tapping into this platform could be a vital starting point when it comes to deploying chatbots for hotels
, as they have over 900 million monthly users accessing their site. However, you can have a chatbot working in any online location, and most hotel responsive web design
companies will be quite rightly thinking of adding them to websites.
So how can this multi-platform tool be used to improve your guest experience?
1. Take the Booking Strain
Chatbots for hotels are often tasked with making, amending and cancelling reservations. There is nothing to stop you having a chatbot working on your Facebook page and your website simultaneously either, as each can handle multiple requests at the same time. Both can also be programmed to use the same booking or reservation system concurrently. The speed with which a chatbot can update the database is faster than that of a person, so there is no danger of double booking or misinformation.
2. Answer Common Questions
Until recently hotel responsive web design dictated that a FAQ page was made available to all site users. This was considered to be cutting-edge, but technology moves so quickly! FAQ pages mean the user has to read and scroll to find the information they need. Handing this task to a chatbot means that your customers can simply ask the question in plain English by typing it into your chatbot window. The answers are pulled from the database within milliseconds leaving the customer happy and more likely to make a booking.
3. In-Room Chatbots
Chatbots for hotels continue to develop in surprising ways. Some hotels have already started to investigate this new frontier – in November 2016 ‘Project Jetson’ was unveiled by Aloft. This clever voice activated chatbot sits in rooms and acts as a virtual personal assistant. Currently, the unit can adjust the room temperature and turn lights off and on but the skill set will expand to take on new responsibilities. While this might not be immediately accessible in all room types and for all hotel businesses, the introduction of technologies like Amazon’s Alexa and other voice technologies is promising. Smart marketers are already optimising their hotel responsive web design for voice search so allowing for further growth with features such as chatbots and in-room chatbots isn’t a big leap.
Chatbots are a phenomenal tool but come with a mild warning. Artificially intelligent chatbots need to meet a customer need, or they fall flat and are not well received. There is no point throwing out a poorly conceived bot that fails to understand what your guest actually wants to know.