Is the Hospitality Industry Ready for the Chatbot Enabled Era?
Is the Hospitality Industry Ready
for the Chatbot Enabled Era?
Technology is the backbone of almost everything we experience today. With its rapid growth and progression, tech and the internet of things (IoT) have transformed the landscape of both new and traditional businesses, including the conventional hospitability industry. One thing that remains consistent, however, regardless of technological advancements, is the importance of the hotel guest experience which has always been of paramount importance towards creating repeat visitors and the core of long-lasting, successful hotel brands.
Today’s institutions have begun to realize that personalized interactions with their guests and is of extreme importance, and have started to focus their attention towards the customer experience as a primary differentiator.
Hotels want to generate long-term customer loyalty, and it only takes one bad experience for 25% of customers to move-on to their competitors. Hotel brands that focused on creating memorable customer experiences, achieved revenue gains of and estimated 5-10%, with 15-20% cost reductions within two or three years. In fact, Forrester Research has been pushing its Customer Experience Index (CX Index) as a way to measure and quantify things like loyalty, quality of service, and sales.
I'M ONLY CHATBOT AFTER ALL, DON’T PUT THE BLAME ON ME
In the current age of non-stop innovation and disruption, hotel guests require a new means of communication, one that fits our fast-paced lifestyle. With the increased use of the mobile devices and social media, Chatbots have become the latest buzz-word over the past twelve months.
In essence, Chatbots allow end-users to seamlessly communicate with brands and business through an acute combination of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning tools. But if that’s not enough, according to Gartner, in a span of two years with Chatbot an average person is expected to have more conversations than their spouses.
There’s no question that Chatbots can and will make a very welcomed addition to the hospitality industry. After all, Chatbots represent a new and innovative customer experience frontier in the form of digitalized communication. For many, it may even deliver a game-changing opportunity to differentiate themselves from other competing hotels, but the question remains, is the conventional hotel industry ready for Chatbot mass adoption?
KAYAK recently published a survey showing that acceptance of chatbots usage among U.K. consumers is low. Of the more than 1,000 adults surveyed, only 18 percent had ever used a chatbot, and just 10 percent of those had used it for travel-related services. In fact, 57 percent of participants didn’t even know what chatbots were. Those who did were concerned with being misunderstood by the bot, or risking security breaches of their personal information. Generally, people preferred human interaction rather than speaking with a chatbot, although younger participants were more accepting of the bots.
While social media can be a useful tool when communicating with potential customers, travelers may not be ready to take the leap into AI chatbots in their current form. Some have difficulties grasping chatbot usage and would prefer to go directly through a travel company rather than a social media form. However, companies in a wide variety of consumer-facing industries are looking for new ways to interact with customers via AI, such as voice-activated devices. Ultimately, businesses that use AI chatbots for guest convenience and efficiency must know when to lend a human hand to assist potential guests.
CHATBOTS WITH A HUMAN TOUCH
Though customer experience and the hospitality industry have undergone drastic changes, even with the most advanced customer-facing tech, human intervention and interactions can never be ruled out. The fact remains that guests love personal attention; this is especially true in the hotel industry.
They feel welcomed and appreciated from the very first moment the hotel staff members express any concerns or questions that the guests may have about their service. The managers and staff members must listen to the concerns or praise, and take appropriate steps to resolve their experience.
Technology must complement the existing hotel services in delivering a “WOW” factor to its guests, and in the process developing long-term relations. It is important for the revenue managers to optimize all the available channels while connecting with the potential guests so that they are in-sync with the offerings of the hotel. Hotels of today are striving hard to offer utmost comfort and convenience to their guests by translating into a perfect ‘home away from home’ destination, by leveraging technology to support the future of the hospitality business. That being said, no one is quite ready to leave out human interaction just yet.
Want to find out more about how your hotel can take advantage of the latest hotel technologies, and implementation? Contact us today. We’d love to talk.