According to eturbonews.com: “direct bookings represented 38% of all hotel reservations in 2023—a slight decrease from the previous year’s at 39%”. *
Albeit small, this erosion in direct revenue for hotels could indicate a post-COVID big push by OTAs, to regain a larger portion of bookings, that hoteliers cannot afford to ignore.
What strategies can hotel executives implement to protect their share and even recapture more direct bookings from OTA’s?
Staying ahead of the market
As the saying goes, “change is the only constant.” Hotels must evolve and adopt strategies to navigate this changing landscape of aggressive OTAs and new clients’ behavior . Whether it’s revamping marketing strategies and guest relations or implementing new technologies, staying ahead is the key to success.
Recently, hotel executives have found a new and surprising ally in their fight against the big platforms : Artificial intelligence.
For instance, an AI powered live chat on a hotel web site can answer clients questions faster and in more languages than the common employee. Even better : it can deduct from the questions asked, the intentions of the client and adjust the conversation based on these cues.
How does it work?
an AI powered live chat is a real-time communication channel facilitating immediate interaction between potential guests and hotel representatives. Within the hotel sector, these systems expand the services accessible through online platforms and often serve as the initial point of contact for customers during the pre-booking phase.
Additionally, AI solutions like Velma by Quicktext provide an automated virtual assistant service for hotels available on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google Business Messages (GBM), allowing swift responses to guest queries even out of websites.
Why does it matter?
The integration of AI powered live chat on hotel websites, facilitates immediate and proactive engagement. This real-time interaction allows for personalized assistance, addressing inquiries promptly, guiding visitors through the information on the destination, booking process, and leveraging AI-powered responses for quick, accurate information.
Immediacy and reliability significantly reduces bounce rates, increasing the likelihood of converting inquiries into bookings while maintaining a seamless and efficient user experience that is totally on brand.
Playing a central role in the booking cycle…
Virtual assistants for hotels play a pivotal role in streamlining the booking cycle, converting anonymous website visitors into direct bookers as a result of engaging in conversations around the clock (24h/24 and 7j/7) in 34 languages, resulting in a tenfold surge in conversation volume.
➤ Learn more about Velma: AI virtual assistant by Quicktext
While human agents at the front desk may possess greater depth of knowledge, AI excel in delivering correct answers instantly. These fast, accurate responses in the customer’s language significantly contribute to securing more direct bookings than what human staff might have managed within the same time frame.
Securing bookings that would have been captured by OTAS if important questions were not answered during the conversation…
25% conversion rate
Utilizing Velma the ultimate AI virtual agent, hotels convert 25% of conversations on average. Training front office staff to seamlessly integrate and manage both live chat and chatbot interactions ensures a cohesive and efficient guest communication experience to reach the full potential of AI powered live chat.
The future of hospitality
Nobody knows for sure what will be the future of hospitality but we are betting that AI will play a big role and that is not science fiction or some over the top dreams, it is live right now…