A hotel bot is a valuable addition to your broader hotel management strategy, assisting with both marketing and customer service tasks. However, choosing your hotel chatbot can be daunting, especially if you are new to using the technology. In this article, you will learn about some of the most important features to look out for.
- What is a Hotel Bot?
- How Does a Hotel Bot Work
- 11 Important Hotel Bot Features When Selecting a Bot
- 1. Multi-Channel Functionality
- 2. Communication Dashboard for Multiple Platforms
- 3. FAQ Automation
- 4. Integration With Booking Engines & PMS Systems
- 5. Personalisation Options
- 6. Machine Learning
- 7. Support for Multiple Languages
- 8. Check-In and Check-Out Functionality
- 9. Concierge Functionality
- 10. Review Integration
- 11. Access to Performance Analytics & Reports
- Reasons Why Every Hotel Needs a Hotel bot
- More Hotel Management Software Solutions
A hotel bot is a kind of computer application, deployed by those in the hotel industry, which is able to process communication from human users and respond intelligently to it. Ultimately, the purpose of this is for the bot to replicate the kind of interactions a user might have with a human employee, either through text or via speech.
The main way those in the hospitality industry actually utilise these bots is for customer service interactions. When deployed in these settings, an AI bot can respond to customer questions, deliver useful marketing messages at key moments and provide users with important information, which can then be used to inform booking decisions.
How Does a Hotel Bot Work?
Chatbots work by receiving user interactions, either by text or by voice, interpreting the interactions and providing relevant responses. With this in mind, they can be separated into two basic types:
A rule-based hotel bot is the more simplistic of the two options and is able to respond to customers using a clear set of built-in rules, which are initially created by a human. Communication in this form tends to be text-based and will often use on-screen buttons, presenting users with multiple choices for responses. With that being said, rule-based hotel bots may also work by detecting certain keywords or phrases within written communication.
The internal logic tends to be fairly straightforward. As an example, the bot might ask: “Are you looking for a single or double room?” The bot will then either present the two options, or detect which of the two options the user responds with, and present the next relevant message for that selection.
Rule-based bots are cost-effective and can deal with more simple communication easily. However, the conversation may seem less natural and user inputs which are not catered for within the internal rules can cause problems.
An AI bot, on the other hand, makes use of artificial intelligence technology, meaning the bot will be more advanced. Typically, an AI-based bot will be able to interpret text inputs or voice commands and then respond in an appropriate way, with the communication seeming much more natural and flowing.
This kind of hotel bot also introduces a number of key benefits, such as the ability to detect different languages and the ability to continually improve as a wider range of questions are received.
As a chat conversation progresses, the AI bot will obtain various pieces of information and can then refer back to these, presenting tailored responses to the individual, as opposed to relying on pre-written responses to very specific questions or instructions. AI bots typically produce greater customer satisfaction, but are more expensive.
With a variety of different hotel bot products available, selecting the right one is vital. Below, you will find 11 of the most important features to look out for when trying to decide between these various options.
1. Multi-Channel Functionality
One of the most important considerations when choosing your hotel bot is support for multi-channel functionality. A good hotel chatbot should not only exist within the chat widget on your hotel website and should also allow for integration with a variety of messaging platforms. Customers will all have their own individual preferences here, but common apps include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Telegram, while WeChat is a popular platform in China.
In addition to supporting multi-channel functionality, the best bots will also offer a comprehensive dashboard, allowing you to manage communication from the different platforms, all in one place. Not only should this include the aforementioned messenger platforms, like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, it should also include emails, as well as messages from guests via platforms like Booking.com and AirBnB.
Your hotel is likely to receive certain questions on a regular basis and it is often possible to provide standard answers to them. For this reason, you should look for a hotel bot that offers frequently asked question (FAQ) automation possibilities. This will allow the bot to respond to the most commonly asked questions extremely rapidly, allowing for more seamless customer experience, while reducing the amount of work human reps need to take on.
Another key feature to look out for with your hotel bot is the possibility for integration with your booking engines and property management systems. This provides your customers with real-time booking potential, allowing you to increase direct bookings and save money on the commissions you might otherwise need to pay to online travel agencies. As a chatbot communicates with customers, it can also offer up relevant and timely special offers, helping to seal the deal.
Your hotel bot should be able to provide you with scope for real personalisation. This will then allow you to identify some key messages that are important for your marketing strategy and make sure they deliver them. At the same time, it enables you to pinpoint questions that are important for your customers, and ensure the chatbot provides high-quality, relevant answers. This can make the chatbot seem far less generic, greatly enhancing the user experience.
Machine learning capability can be highly beneficial, enabling a hotel bot to continuously improve over time. For example, through artificial intelligence and regular interactions, the bot will be able to improve its language recognition skills. Moreover, it will be able to offer intelligent answers to questions, even if it has not been set up to deal with them, and will then be able to gradually self-correct on any mistakes or errors it makes.
Hotels and others in the travel industry receive questions and other contacts from people living in different parts of the world and this can mean dealing with multiple languages. It is important to find a hotel bot that is multilingual and able to both understand and respond to communication in the most common languages your customers speak. This ability to speak multiple languages is one of the ways where chatbots can potentially outperform humans.
Modern technology has opened the door to contactless payments, keyless hotel rooms and check-ins and check-outs that do not require human intervention. A truly great hotel bot will be able to assist guests with checking in and checking out as they wish, using their smartphone. This eliminates the need to queue at the front desk, speeding up the entire process, while freeing up more time for reception staff to carry out other tasks.
A feature that is sometimes overlooked by hotel owners seeking the right AI chatbot is concierge functionality. When a hotel bot is able to offer this, guests can use their smartphone and your chat feature to request assistance. Whether a customer needs to ask for fresh bath towels, would like assistance with booking a restaurant table, or wants to order room service, the option to do so via a chat widget can offer greater efficiency and convenience.
One of the more interesting uses for a hotel bot relates to seeking out customer feedback, so it is best to find a bot that offers review integration. Chatbot communication can ask for customer feedback at the end of the interaction, while a chatbot can be used on platforms like Facebook Messenger or even your hotel app, in order to send requests to guests who have checked out, asking them to leave a review of their experience.
11. Access to Performance Analytics & Reports
Finally, it is important that your hotel chatbot is able to offer performance metrics and that these are available in report form. This then allows you to actually analyse the performance of the bot and make adjustments, if necessary. Ideally, the bot should allow you to ascertain information like the average time taken to deal with a customer issue the most common languages, devices and platforms customers use, conversion success rates, and more.
Hotel chatbot technology is helping to revolutionise the way those in the hospitality industry handle communication with customers, providing instant responses to questions, offering opportunities to deliver in-the-moment promotional offers and greatly reducing the amount of work human staff members need to do.
In the article “Reasons Why Every Hotel Needs a Hotel Chatbot” you will learn more about what chatbots are and how they actually work. In addition, you will find 10 specific examples of ways a hotel chatbot can actually help those in the hotel industry, from improved efficiency, through to multi-language support.
Hotel chatbot technology has helped to revolutionise marketing and customer service strategies in the hospitality industry, providing rapid responses to customers at all times of the day. However, you need to be sure that you are using a hotel bot that offers the most important features, as described in this article, or you could be missing out.
More Information About Hotel Management Software
Would you like to learn more about hotel management software solutions which can help you to grow your hotel business? In the following articles you find more information about the most important hotel management software for hotels:
- Hotel Distribution Channel Manager: What Are the Advantages?
- Revenue Management System (RMS): What Are the Advantages?
- Hotel App: Optimise Your Guest Communication, Experience & Revenue
- Hotel Management Software: What Are the Benefits for Hotels?
- RMS System: An Overview of the Most Important Features
- PMS Software: Which Software Integration Should a PMS Have?
- Hotel Software: The Most Important Software Solutions for Hotels