Instant messaging, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, has simplified the way people connect with each other around the world and has speed up the communication.
What about hotels?
Guests naturally want to communicate with hotels the same way they did with everyone else and are looking for technology to enhance hotel services such as the concierge desk or housekeeping. They increasingly expect conveniences such as being able to order food online or receiving text alerts on room readiness and possible upgrades. But while guests value technology that simplifies and speeds up routine, in-stay tasks, they still expect the human touch to anchor their hospitality experience.
Today’s modern guests report a better experience when hotels use the latest technology to assist and help them.
Communicating with guests and answering their queries via live chat help hotels to get closer to their direct customers by generating traffic on their website, increasing guest engagement and direct booking.
Over the next few months, expect to see more hotels, offering guests the ability to text or message the hotels, whether through their own proprietary apps, established messaging channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, or using a third-party technologies.
Instant Messaging or mobile app?
The different methods by which hotels are choosing to message with guests, while they all fulfill the same objectives, also show different benefits and potential downsides, however.
One difference between communicating with customers via messaging versus an app is that people can turn off in app notifications. However, people are not likely going to turn off text notifications. The ability to notify guests (on bookings or post stay promotions) via text message is very powerful!
Instant messaging, is better for customer relationship management (CRM) and allows hotels to be much more personalized, adaptive and responsive 24/7. Hotels know about past stay behavior of their customers: they know what the want and when they need it.
Messaging is just one part of the quickly evolving hotel technology landscape when it comes to controlling hotel stays, or overall hotel relationship, from before making a reservation to long after checking out.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
When it comes to the evolution of hotel messaging, there’s already been some discussion about how much of it will involve Artificial Intelligence, as well as whether or not the conversation will shift from a request-based one to more of a two-way dialogue between hotels and guests. Most of the hoteliers seem hesitant to start using chatbots or AI just yet to handle customer service, although they are keeping an eye on them.
An intelligent chatbot can use machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to offer premium services, such as late checkout, mid-stay cleaning, or room service to greet guests upon arrival.
Every upscale hotel has a concierge service. With an intelligent chatbot, hotels can offer a Smart Concierge that will not only take care of guests’ needs, but will dazzle them so that they can’t contain themselves and have to share your reviews all over social media!
For example, when a client checks into his room late at night via the hotel’s chatbot, it may offer to order a dinner from room service because it’s late at night, and there is a good chance that the client may not have eaten dinner yet. Hotels can even promote external businesses and collect a referral fee from them!
Other example, when a client orders housekeeping via text message, a chatbot may respond with an offer to make dinner reservations for 2 while the room is being cleaned. Turn an ordinary transaction (i.e. housekeeping) into a revenue generating tool!
A chatbot utilizes machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to promote concierge services like a real Concierge: tours, restaurants, room service…