Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic in hospitality right now, and chatbots have major potential for the hospitality industry. But how do you know if a chatbot is the right choice for your hotel? Will your guests even want to use a chatbot? 

We’re here to tell you that guests are ready, willing, and even excited to use chatbots. Read on to see how today’s consumers really feel about chatbots, and the considerations you should make before implementing one in your hotel.

 

Many of your guests already use them (or will very soon)

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The 2018 State of Chatbots Report, published by Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce, and myclever, provides some interesting insight into how much, and why, consumers are using chatbots. According to the report, 15% of people ages 18 to 64 have communicated with a business using a chatbot in the past 12 months. This number may seem small, but, as Salesforce points out, only 60% of consumers engage with a brand using telephone or email. Especially for such a new technology, the number of people communicating with chatbots has grown rapidly. This growth shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Gartner Research predicts that, by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with a business without interacting with a human. Chatbots are sure to play a major role in this changing landscape. Furthermore, evidence shows that those who are not yet using chatbots are prepared to do so. A significant portion of brand communication is already shifting online, and 49% of consumers would rather conduct all their customer service interactions via chat, messaging, or text.

 

They get a thumbs up from the majority of users

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STARTEK’s recent U.S. Customer Engagement Survey uncovered some interesting findings on consumers’ responses to chatbots. 85% of customers who had used chatbots were either somewhat or very satisfied with their experiences. Furthermore, 57% of those surveyed predicted that they would be very likely to interact with a chatbot or Artificial Intelligence in the future. 28% predicted that this was somewhat likely for them and only 6% said they would be unlikely to use the technology. STARTEK concludes that chatbots are best for “low-value/low-complexity customer interactions,” but we respectfully disagree. A.I. and chatbots are increasingly capable of complex, skilled communication. We know this firsthand. After years of rigorous testing and development, Ameniti’s chatbot communicates competently and accurately, and can even create tickets automatically from digital communications with guests.

 

Chatbots are especially attractive to millennials

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Chatbots are the right solution for one guest demographic in particular: Millennials. We’ve touched on this before and believe that chatbots and A.I. have enormous potential for serving guests in their early twenties to their late thirties. 60% of Millennials have used chatbots, and 70% of those who have report positive experiences. Brands from Pizza Hut to Starbucks are embracing chatbots to take orders and engage with customers, and there’s no reason your hotel shouldn’t be doing this as well. Millennial spending power, currently at six billion dollars a year, continues to increase. It is crucial that your hotel retain this group of guests, and chatbots could be an important part of the equation. Millennials appreciate–and increasingly expect–the ability to request information or arrange services without making a phone call. The future is here, and if you don’t provide this convenience for your millennial guests, they may take their business elsewhere.

 

Consumers are quick to see the advantages of chatbots

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The 2018 State of Chatbots Report also surveyed participants on their predictions for the future use and potential benefits of chatbots. 35% of guests predicted that chatbots could be used for resolving complaints or problems, while 40% said they would be useful for making purchases. 33% cited making a reservation as a top use, with 29% predicting that they would someday use a chatbot to pay a bill. The same group of people identified a number of chatbot benefits, including 24/7 service, instant responses, speedy resolution, and answers to questions. Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a big difference in responses among age groups. When comparing Baby Boomers and Millennials, Baby Boomers were 24% more likely to expect benefits from chatbots in the majority of categories. This demonstrates that more and more of your guests are becoming aware of and interested in chatbots, regardless of age. Overall, the findings show that speed is top of mind for today’s guest, with 69% of consumers preferring chatbots for quick communication with brands. A chatbot could be the answer to both increasing efficiency at your hotel and to giving your guests the level of service they expect.

 

Important considerations

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The evidence for chatbots is strong, but we’re not saying you should implement just any chatbot in your hotel. The most important piece of advice we have is to never eliminate human assistance. When building our chatbots, we ensure that a seamless transfer to a hotel staff member is available at all times. Although we find that our chatbots can give guests the help they need in about 90% of cases, eliminating the option for human connection can leave guests frustrated and stranded. Another best practice is to offer chatbots on multiple platforms. 26% of customers cited only being able to access a chatbot through Facebook as a drawback. A combination of different channels, including both Facebook and browser-based bots, is an excellent option here. It is also important that your chatbot is well-built. 30% of users are worried that a bot will make a mistake, and 24% wouldn’t use a chatbot that isn’t “friendly.” This makes it crucial to develop your bot using a trusted provider. If you have any more questions or concerns about implementing a chatbot at your hotel, feel free to send us an email at contact@ameniti.com.