Chatbots are quickly becoming a staple in the hotel industry. They act as a digital concierge, bringing the front desk to the palm of guests’ hands.
In this article, we’ll review why hotel chatbots matter now, and 7 hotel use cases for 2022.
Chatbots help hotels stay competitive in the age of Airbnb
In a world where over 60% of leisure travelers now prefer Airbnb to hotels, hotels need to find ways to stay competitive. People often choose Airbnb for its price point, larger spaces, household amenities, and authentic experiences. But they usually don’t choose it for its reliability or guest services.
People choose hotels because they know what to expect. This is particularly important for business travelers who don’t want to run the risk of an unpredictable check-in or a non-communicative host.
In fact, 68% of business travelers prefer hotels and have negative experiences using Airbnb for work. They want to be able to check in and get to work. They value familiar, predictable, and trustworthy experiences.
Hotels like Hilton are starting to recognize these differences and are now playing to their strengths. Their most recent ad, for example, criticizes the risks of vacation rental and short-term rental rivals, where guests arrive at a house that looks like a house in a scary Hitchcock film.
Chatbots can play an important role in helping chatbots further differentiate themselves from home-sharing platforms. They modernize experiences for tech-savvy guests, adding even more reliability and convenience–at a level that peer-to-peer platforms can’t match.
With hotel chatbots, hotels can provide immediate, personalized customer service to their guests any time they need it. This gives guests added peace of mind, improves customer satisfaction, and establishes trust. If done right, a great chatbot can even be a deciding factor when it comes time to choose between a rental property and a hotel.
7 best hotel chatbot use cases for 2022
Chatbots help hotels increase direct booking and avoid online travel agency commisons. They also help collect guest information, which allows for important pre-arrival communication.
Hotel chatbots can help guests easily book their stay through natural conversation. They can handle payments, keep credit card details on file, and handle booking changes or cancellations.
A hotel chatbot can also handle questions about differences between rooms and rates, rewards programs, and guarantee customers that they’re getting the best price.
2. Check-in and check-out
The hotel checkin process is a major pain point for travelers. Getting stuck in line behind a group of other guests is never fun, especially when the checkin process is long.
Hotels can use chatbots to automate the check-in process and distribute digital room keys. This is incredibly convenient for guests, but also reduces pressures on hotel staff.
Modern chatbots can even collect ID. Guests simply snap a photo of their identification and press send. The chatbot can then help verify their identity and update important records.
3. Upgrades and upsells
Hotel chatbots make it easy for guests to upgrade their stay. Chatbots can check in at various points in the customer journey, offering them anything from a better view to a discount on spa packages.
Virgin Voyages recently made headlines by adding a “Shake for Champagne” feature to its mobile app. Onboard the ship, you can shake your phone to order a bottle of Champagne to be delivered wherever you are.
Necessary or not, chilled champagne at the push of a button is definitely not a feature Airbnb can compete with.
4. Proactive notifications
Proactive notifications go along way to give guests peace of mind. Again, peace of mind is a key reason why people choose hotels over peer-to-peer platforms in the first place. So, anything hotels can do to keep their guests informed and manage expectations is critical.
If the hotel gym will be closed for maintenance, for example, a chatbot can notify guests that the gym will be closed for maintenance between certain hours. This way, guests don’t need to wake up early, put on their gym shoes and get to the gym just to discover it’s not open.
Proactive communication improves the overall guest experience, customer satisfaction, and can help avoid negative experiences that impact loyalty.
5. Local guide
Authenticity is cited as a main reason why people choose Airbnb over hotels. People like the fact that they can recieve local information from their hosts and get the inside scoop on what to do.
Modern hotel chatbots can help even the score here. They can act as a local guide, helping guests understand their proximity to local restaurants, attractions, and neaby businesses. They can also alert guests of local events and happenings.
6. Customer service requests
A well-built hotel chatbot can take requests like a seasoned guest services manager. They can be integrated with internal systems to automate room service requests, wake up calls, and more.
For example, a chatbot can be integrated with room service POS software to facilitate in-room dining. They can help guests order food, track the status of their order, tip the service staff, and even leave a review.
7. Hotel satisfaction surveys
Hotel chatbots can continue working for you even after guests leave. They can ask customers how they enjoyed their stay in a natural, intuitive way.
Satisfaction surveys delivered via a chatbot have better response rates than those delivered via email. Responses can be gathered via a sliding scale, quick replies, and other intuitive elements that make it incredibly easy for guests to provide feedback.
What’s more, modern hotel chatbots can also give hoteliers reporting and analytics of this type of information in real time. This can help hotels identify pain points and problems before it’s too late.
Wrapping it up
Chatbots help take the guest experience to the next level. They can help hotels further differentiate themselves in the age of Airbnb by improving customer service, adding convenience, and giving guests peace of mind.