Modern consumers want instant gratification, one that cannot always be filled by a human, at least not efficiently. Chatbots fill this gap and with massive development, this technology has become accessible to properties of all sizes.
Consumers want an answer to their questions straight away. It is said that the average online attention span of a user is only eight seconds and you need to available to interact with the potential customer during this time.
If you’re based in a different time zone to the user, this means making them wait overnight for a response. And, there you’ve potentially lost a lead.
A chatbot helps you potentially avoid this lost lead by being there when you cannot be.
So, what is a chatbot?
If you’ve used Apple’s Siri, Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, you’ve used a chatbot in its advanced form. They’re machine-informed programme’s that find answers to your questions and are aimed at generating a conversation with humans. Chatbots are also used by an increasing number of businesses around the world through popular messaging applications like Facebook Messenger or WeChat and, of course, your website.
Chatbots can be trained to mimic us; they’re automated and can manage all our interactions on our behalf, in our absence. In essence, bots are the most efficient live chat agents!
In an era of content overload and users skimming through content, chatbots can be trained to serve up high-value and relevant content from your website. This is helpful to turn lookers into bookers.
Bots are also a great way to improve guest communication before, during and after a guest’s stay. As a messaging app, they also serve as an additional reservation channel. Chatbots are trained to deliver a highly personalised guest experience, improving guest loyalty and RevPar.
One of their most important benefits is that they are available 24/7, avoiding potential revenue loss by replying appropriately to users seeking instant answers.
How to choose the right chatbot solution for your property?
There are a number of off-the-shelf chatbot applications available for apps and websites. Each serves a different purpose. Look for the following points when choosing a chatbot:
- How much pre-trained content does the bot have relevant to the hospitality industry.
- It should be easily configured and not coded so learning is intuitive and based on user queries, not code. If you opt for one that is a software, not a service, you won’t have to continually worry about updates.
- Ensure that it features a rich analytics dashboard – insights are crucial to success.
- Customisation to your platforms is also very important to deliver a personalised service.
Getting ready for a chatbot
Establish a good social media presence and even better engagement. There is no point is having a bot on your Facebook Messenger platform but no one to message!
Improve visits to your website and let the chatbot handle queries. Remember, the more queries the bot handles, the smarter it becomes.
Your website is your most efficient selling tool; offer your best rate guarantee through your website and train the bot to leverage this. It is also important to ensure that you have a website <link> that provides a good user experience and has a variety of content that the bot can leverage. Ensure you have a good proportion of visual content; it makes conversation with bots easy, pleasant and natural.
The longer a bot serves you, the better it gets. That in essence is the basis of machine learning. So, while it may not be perfect when you start with it, things will change over time. With bots very much a part of technology solutions going forward, this is one aspect that you cannot ignore for too long.