Five reasons why you should engage in conversations with your guests using a chatbot
Have you heard? Facebook Messenger is taking off as a marketing channel since Facebook has opened the messaging app up to chatbot developers in 2016 and chatbots have become more and more successful in their application for business purposes. Whereas bots used to be nerdy and hardly a representable way of opening conversations with customers, modern chatbots have become very adept at it. Chatbots are versatile, they use smart personalization and they can be enhanced with dynamic content to create highly engaging experiences.
Engaging in meaningful conversations is one of the most important ways a hotel can set itself apart from the competition. This is even more true in 2018 because with the advent of business chatbots more and more hotels are present on messaging apps. A messaging chatbot needs to function in line with the brand identity and should be able to perform a tailored set of tasks to help perfect the customer experience at the hotel.
There are five reasons why hotel chatbots are showing the best ROI of all marketing channels today:
Hotel chatbots are available 24/7 and are fully automated. Their smart AI has been setup and all guest requests are immediately understood. Chatbots speak multiple languages perfectly. Reason #1: Whenever and wherever a guest requires assistance, the bot is there to help.
Be where your guests are. It’s well known that Mobile is on the rise and we need to engage with our guests there. But did you know that Messaging apps have now surpassed the use of social network apps? That means people worldwide are now more often active on Messenger than on Facebook. Reason #2: It’s on messaging apps where you’ll find your audience in 2018.
Email is notorious for its low open and click-through rates as people tend to think of email as boring and full of must-dos. Messenger is where people chat with their friends and family and businesses are seeing 90%+ open rates on new messages and 40-70% Click-Through rates. On Messenger your guests truly are in a conversational mood.
Personalize your offer. Personalized messages never get old. Messenger chatbots get a modest amount of information about their users from Facebook such as their first name and last name. However when users progress through the conversation their choices can be tracked. continuously and their choices tell us a lot about their interests. We could already do that with online retargeting (eg. by using the Pixel), but that is costly as you’ll have to pay for the followup ads. A user who has engaged with a messenger bot can be retargeted for FREE. There are some limits to that but it’s always possible to send at least one follow-up message with relevant content or promotions at no extra cost.
It’s not only retargeting that is free with chatbots: Imagine the savings of having the chatbot answer your FAQs automatically, the savings on staff overhead such as staff turnover, training and language skills. Staff will always remain an important part of your hotel’s guest experience, but if a bot lowers their workload with even about 20% your hotel could see incredible cost reductions! (Reason #4).
Hotels have usually got a wide range of tools at their disposal for channel management, property management and guest communication. Marketing is especially cluttered when you’re trying to reach multiple audiences across an array of channels.
Reason #5: A chatbot can handle all parts of the guest journey and it can send automated messages to proactively start guest engagement processes. For example, after a guest has booked a room in the chatbot, it could try and upsell a better room 3 days before arrival. It could ask the guest what time they expect to arrive to help housekeeping manage their schedule. And upon arrival it could ask the guest about their dinner plans and present them today’s specials at the hotel restaurant.
This can be continued in a non-intrusive, user-friendly way and at any time, also after checkout. Creating guest retention through personalized promotions is just another 24-hour day at the office for your chatbot.
In summary, hotels are possibly the most likely of any business to profit from a chatbot. In the long term a chatbot with a large user base is able to automatically create large amounts of return bookings on auto-pilot. Dear hotel manager: Have you booked your own holiday yet?