Too often, the hotel industry gets carried away with the idea of things like AI and chatbots. Most of this chatter is hyped content marketing, and it’s hard for hoteliers to separate signal from noise. Here, we’ll break down the ways your hotel can implement chatbots to solve real-world problems today.
Before we tell you how to implement, you’ll need to figure out what business purpose you want your chatbot to solve. The jobs-to-be-done framework was first popularized by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen and Rewired Group Partner Bob Moesta. The framework suggests that every product in the world is hired to do a job.
So, what is the job to be done of a chatbot on your hotel website? It depends.
Generally, a chatbot is hired to help prospective guests answer critical questions to increase conversion on your website. If you are a business hotel, your hotel website chatbot is hired to answer critical questions about meeting-room size and availability, catering menus, sales contact info, corporate incentive rates, RFP facilitation, and more. If you are a leisure hotel, your chatbot is hired to answer questions centered around the local area, room configurations, amenities, etc.
Hotels can implement their own website chatbots using a platform like Intercom or Drift. These services are geared toward e-commerce and technology companies; however, the bots can be configured with no coding knowledge required. Simply have your digital marketing agency add the Intercom code snippet to your website, and you’ll be able to start building a bot right from the user interface by typing in queries and canned responses.
We recommend hoteliers work with vendors with experience in the field as these firms will have a living database of prebuilt queries to save time and increase effectiveness. Triptease offers website live chat through its direct booking platform where hotel staff can chat with guests. Additionally, a feature it calls Auto-Agent allows hoteliers to pre-set responses based on specific criteria. Triptease specializes in hotel website optimization and is a great option for hoteliers looking to implement chatbots and AI onto their hotel website with very little time and risk.
For hoteliers looking to create an end-to-end experience for guests leveraging chatbots, they should look to top- rated guest-messaging software providers. Many of these providers, such as Los Angeles-based Whistle, offer website live chat via bots that retain data throughout the guest stay to improve operational efficiency and create a better guest experience.
Whichever chatbot you decide to leverage, make sure you first identify the core reason you want a chatbot. Make sure you have a business goal for the bot (e.g., increase website conversion, decrease staff overload, etc.), then speak with at least two vendors to see which solution will be the right fit for you. The best hotel technology vendors will offer quick implementation and a turnkey solution for your property. Ask each vendor for a list of top queries through their clients and bot documentation to help decide which vendor has the robust question-and-answer framework paired with strong AI to learn new questions over time.
Jordan Hollander is the co-founder of Hotel Tech Report, a global research platform for hotel technology. He was previously on the Global Partnerships team at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Prior to his work with SPG, Jordan was director of business development at MetWest Terra Hospitality and research associate at Sapience Investments, where he covered consumer and technology stocks. Jordan received his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, where he was both a Zell Scholar and Pritzker Group Venture Fellow. He holds a bachelor’s degree in both philosophy and political science from Williams College.