Impact of artificial intelligence in the hospitality industry

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16 April 2019
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A practical guide to leveraging artificial and human intelligence to boost your hotel’s direct revenue and improve your love life.
Ever wondered about the impact of artificial intelligence in the hospitality industry? Here’s a relevant number to give you an idea. On average, a hotel that uses Quicktext chatbot technology increases its direct sales by 30K€/year per tranche of 100 rooms. They also have a much better sex life. Surprised? Here’s how they do it.

Plenty of fish in the sea?

When a customer visits your website, he already knows he is going to travel. How will you ensure that he books your property? That’s the one question you need to focus on.

Some customers like to search and be left alone. These people are fine using your website and booking engine. Others are looking for comfort. They appreciate some assistance. These are the niche people that you consistently miss.

About 51% of customer enquiries via hotel chatbots are booking requests. Even if you have a big, fat BOOK NOW button on your website, not everybody clicks on it. You have different kinds of customers. Each with different motivations, hopes, and worries. Do not expect all of them to have the same, standard booking behavior.

Your ultimate goal is to lower the direct booking barrier for each customer niche. This is one place you can observe the impact of artificial intelligence in the hospitality industry. Chatbots can help engage and capture such customers.

Your direct booking channels are a fishing net with very big holes in it. Let’s see how you can make them smaller to catch 30K€ more/year/100 rooms.

Why hoteliers are poor lovers and what to do about it  

Today, you expect your customers to discover your product online. You assume they will understand its uniqueness among 30 other choices they encounter. You even expect them to click on a booking engine they have never seen before. And then enter their credit card information. All this, before you even start noticing that they exist.

It reminds me of the risky seduction strategy. One that consists of going to third base before you’ve gone through first and second. You can try it. It might even convert 2% of the time. But, it’s a volume-based strategy viable with the traffic of Booking.com. However, it is much more hazardous when you are an independent hotel (group).

Chatbots work in the opposite order. Customers tell you what they need, give you all their contact details, and then you invite them upstairs. The deal might be sealed in the first encounter or you might need a second one to close it. The chatbot will automate the repetitive part and convert automatically for the customer ready to buy on the spot. Some customers will need a follow-up. Let’s be clear here. If you want your 30K€, you’ll need to work. There’s no such thing as free money.

How to close the deal on your second date

Customers that open your chatbot are ready to tell you precisely what is preventing them from booking a room with you. This gives you the opportunity to sell to them. When the chatbot closes the deal in one shot, that’s money in the bank. But what do you do when your chatbot only gives you an extremely qualified lead that requires human follow-up?

If you are able to react quickly and catch the customer when he is still online, that’s excellent. Sometimes you can’t react immediately and that’s fine too. It is unlikely that your potential customers will book a room anywhere in the next 24 hours anyway. So relax. You have the name, email, mobile number, expression of need and a good excuse to get back to them. Nobody will blame you for a chatbot that made a mistake. Also, they won’t blame you for not answering immediately especially during the night. In fact, customers will be extremely happy to see you care enough to revert with an answer. You should capitalize on this.

When you get back to the customer always make sure that:

Your focus is on their needs rather than your product

What you can do for them instead of what your product specifications are. Sometimes, you’ll need to bend the rules a little bit.

If the customer wants to book a spa treatment, don’t just give them the phone number of the spa! Book it for them even if it is not your job.

You make them feel special

What extra benefits can you offer? A welcome drink, free spa access, early check-in, dog basket if you accept dogs etc.

Can you make a special offer valid only for a few days for this customer?

Be sure to be extra nice. People buy more from you if they think you like them.

You trigger the next step

Let the customer know that you’ve blocked the room for him because he is so special.

Send him a safe payment link such as Quicksecure.

Get back to him if he has not completed the booking before your offer expires.

There is a tangible impact of artificial intelligence on the hospitality industry. You could start by embracing AI and chatbots for your hotel to see the difference yourself.

If you’d like to discuss more about impact of artificial intelligence on the hospitality industry, feel welcome to contact Benjamin Devisme at bde@quicktext.im. You could also visit our website to find out more.

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