It is a known fact that all business owners and managers try to do their best in order to service their clients as well as attract new ones. It is also a known fact that some clients need more attention than others especially at the time of booking.
Given that technology access is at one’s fingertips, the natural first place where potential clients initiate their search is on the hotel’s website or one of the main OTAs which will also bounce them onto the hotel’s website at some point in time should they not get the information they are looking for.
Taking this fact as one of the main considerations, having an updated website with current content (imagery included) and other supporting technology is no longer to be considered as a luxury or an extra chore that will add on to one’s workload. This is now a necessity but it is not enough. People like to interact and at times they find it difficult to spare some time to carry out their own research to understand what the product is all about and what services are being offered. Instead they are looking for immediate answers only to the questions that are popping in their minds.
In order to service the above, there are three main options. These are:
- Introduce an FAQ section on your website. This section is to be maintained constantly with questions and answers that are constantly being asked to you by guests. If there is a specific area that is being queried frequently it is suggested that specific content is then developed and properly placed on the website. This might need to take the form of video, audio, text or a combination of all.
- Integrate a Live Chat system. By allowing your customers to interact directly with a human being will immediately enhance the buying experience. With such functionality, no opportunity will be missed and sales conversion will surely increase. With all the positive aspects live chat brings about if maintained well, it also has its pitfalls. If not maintained well and if service availability is infrequent or sporadic, then it might become harmful. This beings us to the newer approach that has now become somewhat more accessible.
- Chatbots. What are these? Chatbots are human impersonators. They are virtual robots that are able to mimic human interaction and learn along the process. This technology is based on Artificial Intelligence principles where complex algorithms help robots learn how to interact with humans and answer questions that are being asked to them by generating answers and portraying them in natural language. There are a number of tools available out there that allows for the implementation of such. Some of these are free but some also come at a cost. One will need to look into the most viable option for the business and also identify the amount of investment required in order to set this up, be it time or money. Some of these might be complex to implement at first especially if the person setting up has limited technical knowledge. Others are simple to setup yet require a loft of effort in order to build rules on how answers are to be generated. The efficiency of chatbots usually comes along after a short period of time once a number of questions will start being asked every so often, allowing the algorithm to learn more as it goes along. One must bare in mind that no human will ever be replaced totally, however this will act as a proxy system that will answer where possible or else divert queries to a human-based system (email, live chat or phone) where the chatbot’s knowledge is limited. In this case, one must make sure that questions that have not been answered by the chatbot are then built in the rules engine where possible.
By using a combination of the above three tools, one will be making sure that clients are immediately serviced, service being provided is constant and if there is no possibility of having someone available online on a 24/7 rotation, then technology will be able to make up for the present gaps.