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Do’s And Don’ts Of Hotel Chatbots

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Do’s And Don’ts Of Hotel Chatbots


Do’s And Don’ts Of Hotel Chatbots — Source: Pertlink Limited

Introduction

HOTEL Chatbots for hotels are automated virtual assistants designed to provide efficient and personalized customer service for guests. These AI-powered bots can, without [costly] human intervention, handle various tasks and inquiries, enhancing the guest experience and streamlining communication. Chatbots can assist with room reservations, create revenue-generating opportunities by upselling, provide information about hotel amenities and services, offer recommendations for local attractions; Answer frequently asked questions, process guest feedback, and even handle simple requests like room service orders or wake-up calls. By utilizing natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, hotel chatbots aim to deliver prompt, accurate, and round-the-clock assistance, ensuring guests feel supported and well-informed throughout their stay.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but goes some way to achieving goals, and through the use of best practices, will help ensure a memorable guest experience – achieved through the effective use of tech.

Do’s

  1. Work with a professional and established company who are experts in the field of hotel chatbots. These people specialize in building customized chatbots and have extensive experience in hospitality.
  2. Choose a chatbot that is specifically customizable for hotels. A company with experts in the field of hotel chatbots will be familiar with the various property management systems, channel managers, booking engines, and customer relationship management systems that exist in the industry. That means that the chatbot can be integrated with your existing system. This is not the case for a generic chatbot.
  3. Make sure the chatbot can handle the specific tasks and questions relevant to your hotel business. This includes things like booking reservations, answering queries about amenities and services, providing information about rates and promotions, etc.
  4. Choose a chatbot that gives you the flexibility to include photos, links, and videos. A picture is worth a 1000 words.
  5. Choose a chatbot that has a robust notification system. It’s crucial for your hotel staff to receive notifications in a coordinated and timely manner.
  6. Choose a chatbot that uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and can integrate with Large Language Models (LLMs). This is the next generation of AI chatbots (like Chat GPT and Google Bard) that will make conversations much more natural and interactive.
  7. Choose a platform that can integrate with Hotel Management Systems – The chatbot should be able to integrate with your hotel’s backend systems, like property management software and reservation platforms, to access up-to-date information and fulfill requests.
  8. Choose a provider that offers personalized onboarding and training support for your staff.
  9. Choose an easy and intuitive solution for your staff to learn and use.
  10. Choose a solution that offers robust analytics and provides insights into your guests’ preferences.
  11. Choose a platform that offers multi-channel functionality, including the ability to communicate through your website, email, social media channels (e.g., Facebook Messenger, Instagram), instant messaging apps (e.g., WhatsApp, Line, Telegram, WeChat, Viber), and SMS.
  12. Select a vendor and platform that can provide support when you need it – remember, this is a 7x24x65 business.
  13. Choose a chatbot that understands many languages. Hotels have visitors from a variety of countries, and there should be no language barrier for your chatbot.
  14. Consider the UI and UX – the chatbot should have an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing interface. It should be easy for users to interact with and understand without requiring any prior knowledge or expertise.
  15. Use concise language to cover the main topics related to each question.
  16. Choose a hotel chatbot that:
    • Can gather all of the information about your property and automatically write specific answers for each question while, at the same time,
    • Gives you the ability to change and adjust any response as you see fit easily.
    • Escalate complex queries to a human agent when needed.
  17. Use a hotel chatbot when dealing with repetitive tasks that can be automated, thereby saving escalating labor costs, such as responding to frequently asked questions and pre-stay communications.

Dont’s

  1. Build a chatbot on your own – use experts. It takes far too long and will not work very well. There are so many questions that you will never anticipate.
  2. Choose a generic chatbot. It will not have the specificity for questions about your hotel.
  3. Don’t provide lengthy answers with lots of sentences and paragraphs. People don’t want to read long answers. The TLDR syndrome…
  4. Choose rule-based chatbots. These are earlier-generation chatbots that use simple keyword recognition and decision trees.
  5. Use a chatbot for high-value interactions when the guest has very specific requests and needs. This is where the personal human touch can go a long way to positively affect guest satisfaction. A perfect example would be if a guest has a complaint. That’s when a personal one-on-one engagement will really matter.
  6. Forget data privacy – The chatbot should be secure and comply with relevant data privacy regulations, such as GDPR. This includes features like end-to-end encryption and secure data storage.
  7. Overlook costs – Compare prices, subscriptions, and additional fees of different chatbot solutions to determine what fits your budget. Some providers charge extra for onboarding and support.
  8. Carefully consider the need for Live chat. This should not be required if the platform is set up correctly. Staff will not be able to:
    1. Answer quickly enough
    2. Answer consistently enough
    3. Handle multiple conversations simultaneously
    4. Understand multiple languages
    5. Incorporate links, photos, and videos as quickly and efficiently as a chatbot

Benefits of chatbots

  • Answer guest’s questions consistently and accurately every time
  • Provides customer service via chat 365/7/24 and helps to convert them to sales
  • Offer rates and availability
  • Like a hotel concierge (on your website) who:
  • Never sleeps
  • Is always cheerful
  • Is always available
  • Never complains
  • Follows instructions
  • Never asks for a raise
  • Speaks multiple languages
  • Responds instantly
  • Helps get bookings
  • Answers multiple questions from different visitors simultaneously, saving time and energy and eliminating stress
  • It can upsell by making offers to upgrade, sell add-ons
  • Allows you to interact quickly with your customers to generate direct bookings and reduce OTA fees
  • Great support for the team and guests – Your Reception desk receives fewer phone calls saves time for the reception team
  • Understands multiple languages
  • Customized for your property
  • Provides customer insights
  • Help you build a better and more memorable customer experience

Glossary

  • AI (Artificial Intelligence): The simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems.
  • Chatbot Platform: A system or application where a chatbot can be deployed. Examples include websites, mobile apps, and messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger or Slack.
  • Chatbot Training: The process of feeding data to the chatbot system and allowing the AI to learn from this data.
  • Context: The state of the conversation or the information from the preceding interactions in the dialogue.
  • Conversational UI (User Interface): The interface of a chatbot that allows humans to interact with the machine in a conversational manner.
  • Dialog Flow: The sequence of messages between the chatbot and user.
  • End-to-end Learning: A type of ML model where a system is trained to handle everything by itself, from raw input to final output, rather than having separate hand-designed components.
  • Entity: A keyword or key phrase within an utterance that is valuable for the NLP model.
  • Fallback Intent: The default response when a chatbot is unable to determine the user’s intent.
  • GPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer): An AI language model that uses machine learning to produce human-like text.
  • Handover Protocol: A process used in messaging platforms where control of the conversation is passed from the bot to a human operator, and vice versa.
  • Intent: What the user is trying to achieve with their input into the chatbot.
  • Knowledge Base: A database used by the chatbot to enhance its responses and knowledge about a specific domain.
  • ML (Machine Learning): A field of AI that uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to “learn” from data, without being explicitly programmed.
  • Multimodal Interaction: Interactions with chatbots that may involve multiple types of inputs and outputs, such as text, voice, image, and gesture.
  • NLP (Natural Language Processing): A field of computer science and AI focused on the interaction between computers and humans through natural language.
  • NLU (Natural Language Understanding) is a vital component of chatbots that enables them to comprehend and interpret human language to provide accurate responses.
  • Payload: A specific set of data that you can send with a button or quick reply to inform the chatbot of the action the user has taken.
  • RASA: An open-source machine learning framework for building AI chatbots and voice apps.
  • Sentiment Analysis: The process of identifying and categorizing opinions expressed in a piece of text to determine whether the writer’s attitude is positive, negative, or neutral.
  • Training data: The initial set of data used to help an AI learn and generalize.
  • Utterance: The text input that a user sends to the chatbot.
  • Voicebot: A type of chatbot that uses speech recognition to understand and respond to spoken language rather than text.
  • Webhook: A method of augmenting or altering the behavior of a webpage or app with custom callbacks, often used with APIs.

This is a Pertlink publication in collaboration with GuestChat

Terence Ronson
Managing Director
Pertlink Limited

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