Letting your hotel do the talking
A new EyeforTravel report has found that conversational interfaces have the potential to help hotels improve the guest experience and drive revenues too.
Chatbots and smart speakers may be new to the scene, but these new advancements are indicative of a significant change in guest communications, according to a recent report from EyeforTravel.
The Future of the In-Stay Experience finds that in the hotel of the future AI-powered speakers and chatbots will be able to suggest activities answer guest queries and deal with complaints. If executed correctly, using AI-powered voice and chat capabilities to do these tasks could enhance guest interactions and in turn drive revenues.
Among the hotels to implement AI is IHG. In collaboration with Mobiquity, IHG has been able to successfully implement a conventional user interface through two new digital endpoints - voice and chatbots. It is currently utilizing voice automation to act as a virtual concierge that can control everything from in-room lighting to room service. IHG has also taken to Facebook Messenger, enabling guests to receive pre-stay notifications as well as view reservation details, explore neighbourhood guides and much more.
Currently, a multitude of technology firms are busy devising travel solutions, one of which is Dazzle Technology, a start-up that implements and operates smart speakers for the hospitality industry.
“We created a conversation concierge so that people can get all of their informational experience through channels they are more used to operating. It delivers specific responses very quickly. It positions the hotel as a trusted advisor,” says Charles Cadbury, Co-Founder of Dazzle Technology. “Hotels are able to listen to what the guests want and get real time data of who is asking for what and when. Then they can make real time adjustments to their product or services to cater to those requests.”
Notably, some industry experts have estimated that between 50-75% of guest questions can be responded to by bot, enabling hotel staff to focus on delivering more high quality, differentiated services. On the subject of bots, Jeffrey Parker, Vice President of Hospitality Systems, Red Lion Hotels Corporation, has warned the industry to adopt a tactful approach when it comes to implementing chat bots, stating: “The most appropriate way to do it is to link to your service app infrastructure and have a warm hand-off to a real person. Don’t ever let your app pretend to be a real person. Be transparent with your guests.”
Ultimately, hotels need to adhere to their guests’ wishes and respect their decision if they ask for automated services to be removed. The likes of Marriott and IHG are working closely with Amazon to deliver on improving the guest experience, while also protecting their privacy. With privacy issues set to come to the fore in light of the EU’s GDPR regulation, the protection of privacy will now be of paramount importance, the study warns.