Direct bookings are frequently prioritized by hotels since they typically result in higher profit margins and greater total control. As a result, many hoteliers are eager to investigate innovative ways to encourage customers to book directly, with chatbots emerging as one of the most promising choices. In this post, you’ll learn how a chatbot can help you improve direct reservations.
Direct Bookings’ Importance
Hotels aim to encourage as many direct bookings as possible in order to maximize financial results. After all, direct bookings save the hotel money on commissions paid to OTAs or other platforms, and they also provide the hotel with complete control over all future communication with the consumer.
Unfortunately, the majority of first-time visitors to a hotel website do not convert into paying clients immediately away, for a variety of reasons. It can, however, be explained in part by the fact that so many elements influence client decisions: room costs, internet reviews, location, the technology available, breakfast options, and even Wi-Fi capabilities. As a result, many visitors to a hotel website will depart to conduct further research.
While larger hotels are more likely to have the resources to undertake remarketing campaigns, independent hotels and smaller chains may not. As a result, many of these hotels are losing direct bookings to OTAs such as Expedia and Booking.com, and solving this problem has become a top priority for the whole hotel sector. Offering preferential prices and other direct booking incentives on the hotel website are two possibilities.
As a result, having a chatbot on your hotel website and accompanying your booking system is one of the most promising and cutting-edge alternatives. The chatbot may then actively encourage direct bookings, give more personalized service, and respond quickly to any consumer inquiries or complaints.
Four easy ways to Use a Chatbot to Increase Direct Bookings
A chatbot can assist in increasing direct bookings, but it must be used correctly. Below are four suggestions to ensure that your chatbot delivers the results you want.
1. Connect to your reservation system
By making the booking process more convenient, integrating your chatbot with your booking engine can help you increase direct bookings. Although current room availability can be obtained on a hotel’s website, some guests will find it more convenient to use a chat widget that can supply this information on demand.
Users will be able to request information about room availability for their desired dates within the chatbot when it is completely connected with a booking engine. They can then be redirected to the booking system to finish their reservation via the chat widget. The chatbot can also answer any questions they have, eliminating the need for users to leave your website to get answers. This means you don’t have to worry about them being distracted.
The HiJiffy chatbot platform is a fantastic example of this since it allows users to check availability, choose a hotel, obtain real-time pricing quotations, browse images, and then be redirected to make their booking.
2. Chatbots as a Tool for Marketing
A chatbot, for example, may gather information from a consumer about the type of vacation they desire and then provide a direct link to finish a booking over WhatsApp. Following the arrival of the guest, the information acquired can be utilized to send push alerts to their phone, complete with recommendations based on their preferences.
On platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, chatbot communication can help you improve your marketing efforts while also delivering additional personalization for your visitors. You may encourage direct bookings while also gathering data that can be used to deliver tailored hotel services or send personalized marketing messages to specific travelers by using chatbots in this way. As a result of this strategy, cross-selling and up-selling opportunities may occur.
So, for example, your chatbot may have learned about a visitor’s desire to relax and unwind, as well as their desire to get out and about. Push notifications can then be used to promote your hotel’s spa or to suggest local attractions. When all of this is in place, you will have not only generated a direct booking but also given a customer a personalized experience, increasing the likelihood of future visits.
3. Remove the Guests’ Language Barrier
It is hard for hotels to employ enough people to communicate in all languages, making contact with some potential clients exceedingly difficult. However, a chatbot based on NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) can overcome this barrier by speaking in the user’s preferred language, resulting in direct bookings.
This technology can then be implemented in your hotel as well. Even if a receptionist is unable to understand and speak well with a guest, the chatbot will be able to handle the interaction and maybe translate for both sides, making the overall customer journey much smoother for many of your international visitors.
4. Quick Answers to Questions
Finally, an AI-powered chatbot can increase direct bookings by instantly answering commonly asked questions (FAQs) and providing helpful clarity on any difficulty a customer might have while deciding whether or not to book a night at your hotel. As a result, making a decision will be much easier, increasing the demand for accommodations.
Common questions about check-in and check-out hours, when breakfast is served, and how to reserve various hotel amenities do not require human interaction because the answers are simple and definitive. By utilizing a chatbot to automate responses, inquiries will be answered faster, customers will be more satisfied, and your customer care employees will benefit from having fewer client problems to deal with.
Best of all, a chatbot can alert hotel workers when a human touch is required, resulting in a smooth customer experience, even if the customer’s questions become more difficult. However, roughly 70% of each interaction will be automated, lowering the need for human intervention significantly.
Chatbots provide various benefits, including increased customer loyalty, improved guest profiling, additional revenue streams, and the release of hotel personnel. One of the most significant advantages is the ability to provide immediate, natural responses at the correct time, leading to more direct bookings.