“Chatbots can alleviate and improve care,” says Grischa Puls, a long-time blogger (hotelneudenken.com) and hotel manager. “Chatbots are not about abolishing personal contact.
Let’s listen to his arguments…
The battle against Online Travel Agency (OTA) is lost. How should hotel corporations or private hotels catch up with what they have neglected for too long: an attractive opportunity to book a hotel room? The train is gone.
However, hotels might get points in a different field, as no OTA has the opportunity to address a guest in situations as intimate as the hotelier can. For example, during a relaxed dinner in the restaurant, a drink in the bar, a chat in the lobby, a warm welcome or a farewell at the reception. Hoteliers should not leave this Unique Selling Proposition (USP) out of their hands. Because customer relationships are built here, they have something to oppose the optimized booking route at Booking.com & Co. and ultimately mean nominal value.
How do chatbots come into play? Can hoteliers use them to their advantage? Despite the delay in bringing chatbots to the hotel industry, most hoteliers are generally positive about an implementation.
While there may be communication problems, even complex conversations are not (yet) the domain of chatbots, but messaging has become the preferred communication channel and the benefits are obvious: 24/7 accessibility, constant communication standard, reduced staff costs, the ability to intercept negative comments from guests in the house, additional sales, increased loyalty and overcoming language barriers. And with low investment for the hotelier and great acceptance by customers, of course, depending on target group, type of hotel and category.
However, my fear is that some hotels are giving away a USP with the implementation of chatbots. Only subliminal, then with all the more penetrating power. It is completely absurd for me to formulate this as a reproach or even seal the hoteliers once again as a “late adopter”. Rather, it is the case that a hotelier is faced with a technology that demands of his guests, but that he can only operate and control to a limited extent. It will have no choice but to bring in professionals whom it has to relinquish part of its data sovereignty.
So, my advice: if it’s Chatbot, not for the sake of the chatbots, but to deal with the content and use it for your own benefit.
Chatbots are not about abolishing personal contact, but about recovering it. Something that some hotels have lost for a long time, due to their employees in constant stress and multitasking mode, the wedding in the banquet room on the first floor is taken care of while serving the guest at the reception.