Instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat have more active users than social networks like Facebook or Instagram. Messaging has become your customers’ favourite way to access information. Mostly because it doesn’t require any effort on their side, plus it is both highly personalized and mobile friendly.
The only scalable way to leverage messaging for hotel sales is to centralize messaging platforms in an aggregator and automate as many interactions as possible to a chatbot.
A good chatbot is usually able to answer correctly to about ¾ of customer interactions. It means that your team will need to intervene 25% of the time. People always focus on chatbots’ interactions with customers but in order to generate the best possible ROI, the way your bot interacts with your team proves just as important.
The only good tools are the ones that your staff actually uses
Most tech providers make the same mistake as hoteliers by thinking that their product is so unique and wonderful that people will be enchanted and make the extra effort to adapt to it. In reality, it’s much harder to change staff behaviour, especially if the person you’re trying to convince is a receptionist that already has thousands of things to do every day. That’s how super valuable technologies fail to become habits and go to waste every year.
Before deciding what messaging technology and chatbot you’re going to use, you should ask each potential provider how their particular product would fit into your hotel’s daily operations and base your choice on the answer to this simple question, even more than on the tool’s performance.
Avoid, at all costs, companies that sell you one more online platform because in 90% of the cases your staff will forget to log in every day. Preference should be given to providers capable of understanding and adapting their notifications and calls to action to your own operational challenges.
If you don’t have a cloud PMS, it is highly unlikely that your staff will remember to go to chrome and log in. So you need your provider to be able to give you a computer program that will keep the notifications appearing and remind the staff that business is going on even if they forgot to log in, in the morning.
- If your staff is always on the move your provider should definitely offer a mobile app
- Do more with less
Your staff loses over 1 hour every day to frictional time spent in between 2 different tasks. Guest communications are particularly prone to frictional time loss as there are several channels to manage. Each one according to its own rules. While choosing your messaging tool and chatbot you should have a holistic view of how much time it will help you save versus how much time it will cost for what ROI.
To kill frictional time, look for a tool that is able to accommodate as many communication channels as possible: Live Chat, Facebook, SMS, Booking, Airbnb etc. WhatsApp will soon be available so make sure that your provider is already working on an integration.
Change isn’t something that just happens, it is something YOU make
Some people live under the illusion that implementing a new technology will magically solve all their problems. This is NOT going to happen, no matter what the person that sold it to you promised. Change always has a cost.
E-commerce is evolving and new tools such as messaging platforms and chatbots are only the tip of the iceberg. What’s really happening is market saturation and you are only one option among many. Before implementing any new technology with any chance of success you need to be acutely aware that you need to change your attitude towards sales and marketing. A new tool will only minimize the cost of change but it will never be the change, you will.
You’re not the prettiest girl in town and it’s OK. Just stop betting so much on your looks and start building your conversation skills.
If you’d like to discuss more or have questions about chatbots and AI feel welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published at www.quicktext.im.
About the Author: Benjamin Devisme
Co-Founder & Evangelist of Quicktext, a 24/7 AI-powered communication toolbox helping hotels increase sales while improving the guest experience.
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