A few lessons learned while developing chatbots for some of the best resorts in Spain.
Every month at Quicktext, we make a list of the top 10 hotels that got the highest volume of reservation requests through Zalia (our chatbot for hotels). The winner in May 2019 was GF Victoria resort in Tenerife. Between 1st and 31st May, our chatbot generated over 180.000€ in direct booking requests*.
About 1 year ago some visionary resorts gave us the opportunity to become their hotel chatbot. Special thanks to Antoni, Maria, and Pau from Zafiro Hotels and Ricardo Samaan from Pure Salt Luxury Hotels for trusting us from day 1. It was not a walk in the park, naturally. However, here are 3 key points that I have learned while building chatbots for resort hotels.
1- Crazy high volume of customer interactions through resort hotel chatbots – 45% of these are reservation requests
Chatbots for hotels perform very well with resorts. This is because they have many online visitors eager to know every detail that is relevant for them before making a choice. We’re talking about people’s vacation. The thing they’ve been waiting for, the whole year. Sometimes I even see reservation requests made 2 years in advance.
Your customers are going to spend about 10% of their yearly income on their vacation so they want to make the right choice (source: Forbes). If there ever was a time to talk to your customers, it is not after their stay, on TripAdvisor. It is before, on your own website, to ensure they spend their money with you.
Resort hotel reservations are usually more complex than in city hotels. We see many small groups of people: 1-2 families that want different rooms, people with flexible dates. So in many cases booking engines might not be adapted to fit these requests. That’s probably when chatbots for resort hotels come in handy.
The Quicktext chatbot for hotels directs simple reservations to the hotel booking engine. It first takes all the information needed for more complex requests. Then, it sends it to the reservation team for fast sales follow-up. Hotels that apply the right process have an average conversion rate close to 25%.
2- Synergy between the hotel chatbot and the reservation team
Customer conversations with your chatbot can go very well. Subsequently, this will help lots of them book directly through your booking engine. But that is simply NOT the whole story. The goal of an interaction with a sales person is not necessarily to close the deal immediately. This is because no matter how good you are, sometimes your customer is not ready to buy just yet.
Chatbots for resort hotels are a very good option to filter incoming communication from guests. They get each customer’s name, contact details, dates, and context of stay and answer most customers’ requests.
Many resorts provide help and guidance to customers that contact them through their call center. With chatbots for resort hotels, the call center staff can go one step further. They can develop a follow-up strategy to help them quickly identify high-value customers. Then, they can proactively follow-up through live chat, email, SMS…to maximize conversion.
Zalia chatbot for hotels (Quicktext) is able to extract important information from customer conversations and deliver it to your staff in a simple way.
3- Resort offering is confusing – Chatbots for resort hotels help customers find the precise information they need
What surprised me the most was that a lot of customers are curious about the different food plans that are offered by resort hotels. Or, as I like to call it, What is included in all inclusive? Another point that surprised me was how often people ask about the alcohol brands that are included in the open bar. Another huge preoccupation is the hotel child policy and the available activities for kids.
The information is probably present somewhere on your website. But, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They have 20+ options open with resorts offering different services, sometimes using the same name for things…it’s really confusing. And the wording might be clear for you but I confess that before I worked with resorts, I didn’t know the difference between full board and all inclusive. Do not expect your customers to know it all.
The challenge becomes even harder when customers are using a mobile device that can’t display much information on such a small screen. Clearly, chatbots are not the only tool available to help customers find their way. However, the hotel chatbot’s ability to respond precisely to what customers are looking for makes them a must-have for hotels. Especially for resorts that are 10x more confusing than city hotels.
Bottom line, you can’t expect people to be educated about your services. You should aim at reducing their confusion and brain activity as much as possible. Chatbots are a good way to address this challenge.
* The average conversion rate of reservation requests across the hotels we work with is 25%.