How does your hotel marketing funnel change with a chatbot?
You may have heard the chatbot buzz going around, but like any experienced marketing manager or business owner you’re still a bit skeptical whether or not this newest trend can really help your hotel gain more revenue down the line. There isn’t really a good reason not to start using a chatbot, if only for the 0% booking fees. But bots can do a whole lot more. How will your hotel marketing funnel look with a chatbot compared to the current situation?
Bring all your promotional channels together in one tool
Its important to realize that Facebook Messenger has 1.2 billion active users, so you’ll find most of your guests on the platform already. No app install necessary. You’re now probably using email campaigns alongside FB ads, Google Ads and possibly Instagram and Twitter, too. These all have their purpose and will not immediately become obsolete with a chatbot, but a chatbot will take over much of your now scattered promotional activities and bring them under one roof.
Why it’s a good thing to have all your guests in your chatbot
Thanks to the data Facebook gives us we get a lot of information about the user once they’ve started a conversation with the bot. We can expand this data by sending users relevant information and asking for something in return, for example their email address, phone number or home address. In fact the bot can ask them anything that could be important to you when retargeting them later, and guests will respond as long as the information or promotion you’re offering is relevant to them.
Secondly, a chatbot can perform a wide variety of tasks. It can send messages at a time you specified, building on the information it gathered about the user over time. For example, if the bot knows a user has booked a room it automatically sends an upselling message to ask the user to upgrade. It can upsell additional services like car rentals or tour bookings. And the best thing? You aren’t even involved. The conversation, warming up leads, conversion to sale, and payment are all taken care of automatically.
In this diagram I’ve visualized what our GoHotel chatbot can do for you and your guests before, during and after their stay at the hotel.
Promoting your chatbot and growing your audience
If we want the chatbot to perform all these tasks for us, we’ll first need to have our prospects or guests join the chatbot. This is where your old marketing tools do come in handy. The big difference between your old marketing funnel and the new one is that you’re now using your old channels for only ONE purpose: getting those prospects or guests to join that bot, because once they’re a bot user you can sit back and let the chatbot take care of business. This massively simplifies your promotional funnel. Costs will also go down drastically as you won’t need those old channels to upsell and retarget: The chatbot now takes care of that automatically and at no additional cost.
Here are popular methods our current hotel clients use to grow their chatbot:
- Facebook ads now allow for direct click-through to your bot;
- Create sweepstakes, special offers and Q&A posts on your Facebook Page to elicit responses. There is a feature called ‘acquire from comments’ that automatically subscribes FB users to your bot when they reply to your posts.
- Landing pages with a promotion or CTA that requires prospects to join the bot;
- SEO, Google Adwords;
- Your website: Facebook offers a free to implement chat bubble that appears in the bottom of the screen on your website. Once users click it they’ll start the conversation with the bot. There are also different pre-made ‘send to messenger’ buttons you can freely add to your site;
- Email automation – email has terribly low Click-Through rates compared to chatbots, but still serves a purpose when sending more lengthy content and imagery. The new purpose of email for a hotel with a chatbot is (you’ve guessed it:) to make readers join the chatbot;
- Wifi portals: If people have booked through an OTA or other channel, you’d still want them to join the bot for upselling and retargeting purposes during and after their stay. Wifi portals don’t have to be persistent: on connecting to the hotel Wifi guests may be redirected to a landing page with a CTA to claim a free drink at the hotel bar if they click the link to the chatbot. You can use this as a requirement for gaining access, or you can choose to give access to wifi regardless whether they click the button or not.