How AI-powered chatbots revolutionize the hospital industry?
If you are a frequent traveler, you must have wondered about the recent changes in hospitality services. It is because of the functions of the Chatbot software. From 2015, Chatbots have redefined hospitality services to facilitate customers and develop the hospitality industry.
The hospital industry is where the customer’s perception transforms into reality. The services rendered to customers are the major contributors to its success. It’s where Chatbots play a vital and crucial role.
You can know the importance of AI in the future from horse’s mouth of none other than Google CEO Sundar Pichai: “Over time, the computer itself – whatever its form factor – will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. We will move from mobile first to an AI first world.”
“Only a life lived to the service of others is worth living.”
– Albert Einstein
So what is all this hype about AI?
As more companies begin to adopt #AI into their business strategy, it is up to developers to build clear principles for human-AI interactions. Here’s how IBM is doing it via @Medium: https://t.co/GOzVmfLzaC
— IBM Watson (@IBMWatson) January 22, 2019
For several years AI has been researched, and only in the last few years, the implementation took over. Its main applications and changes are going to be just in the sales and service fields. They are going to change monumentally shortly. Hence Chatbots is not hype but is one to stay and revolutionize the business world.
What are chatbots?
It is an AI platform to conduct a conversation through auditory and textural methods. They are designed in a way to pass the nearly 70 years old Turing test. Chatbot software program persuasively stimulates human behavior in a conversational environment. Apart from being a messaging application, it is also a conversational interface to simplify complex tasks.
Chatbots – the modern day PAs
In today’s fast technological world, you can consider Chatbots as modern day personal assistants. They respond to inquiries and give recommendations on a real-time basis for any topic. The capacity to improve by machine learning, they understand complicated requests and provide personalized answers.
Categories of chatbots
Chatbots came way back in 2011 as primary business and artificial intelligence messaging platforms. Now Chatbot name covers many categories which include:
- Stand-alone applications
- AI tools
- Messaging platforms
- Bot discovery & developer frameworks
- Shared services
Types of Chatbots
According to their functions, chatbots are of two kinds.
- Advanced chatbots
This type is most complex driven by machine learning and AI. It enables these chatbots to learn as they go along to understand languages and commands. They are also able to answer questions; only hotel staff would know and even make restaurant bookings. Many Top Chatbot Development Companies are working on this right now.
- Not-so advanced chatbots
This type is driven by a set of predetermined answers and by a pre-programmed set of rules. They scan keywords of the input and reply with matching answers from a database. They need to be programmed manually and can answer only frequently asked simple questions.
Social Networks VS Messaging Apps
“Messaging apps are the platforms of the future and bots will be how their users access all sorts of services”– Peter Rojas
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi. It squarely applies to the hospitality industry. It is an industry where the customer is God and should get the best of hospitality. It is one of the rapidly growing sectors in this globalized business world.
Fields of the hospitality industry
This multi-billion dollar industry in this modern world has now increased the category of fields. It includes not only hotels but also event planning, transportation, cruise line, theme parks and other areas of traveling and tourism industry. It is due to the reason for the evolution of technology at a rapid pace.
The following are the facts which require the latest technologies like chatbot in the hotel industry
- Evolution of the hospitality industry
Gone are the days when you book a hotel by picking up the phone. Even the simple online booking is now outdated in this ‘always on’ or the connected world. Nowadays, there is a massive increase in travelers for meetings, vacations, seminars and other needs around the world. With technology evolution at a rapid pace, the development of the hospital industry has become imminent.
- Demands of guests
Travelers and guests demand more today in the way of communicating with hotels. They want easy and handy access before, during and after a stay at hotels. The guests require concierge services accessible in a convenient way. It is possible only with hospitality services on all the platforms they use daily. They prefer this kind of fitting availability rather than an app.
- Personalized and customized services
Modern-day millennial travelers expect more from hotels than never before. Guests as per their intentions and preferences nowadays require highly customized and personalized services. With all-around technological developments, they feel deprived when not provided with them.
- Review of hotels
A recent study has found that 70 % of sales and services in this digitalized world depend on reviews. Any good review by a guest could enhance the business and the opposite with bad news.
Chatbots – the game changer for the hospital industry
Research has found an exciting new development of customers utilizing hospitality services. From the previous social networks now it is seen that they use chatbots as messenger apps.
They function as a virtual personal assistant to deliver automated customer support, content and interactive experiences. It makes guests satisfied from enabling them from ordering of food, scheduled flights, to get recommendations for anything and many more.
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Facebook – the game change for chatbots
Till 2016 the use of chatbot in hospitality was evolving with essential hospitality functions. They include hotel booking, pre& post stay, and general inquiries. But with its integration with Facebook as messenger chatbot platform changed the whole hospitality industry. At that time Facebook had only 900 million users. With current 2270 million users, it is the real game changer for chatbots.
Benefits of Chatbots in the hospital industry:
Recent research shows that by 2020, 85 % of communications will take place without a live person. It may be a little hard to believe, but it is a fact with the benefits of chatbot. Especially in the hospitality industry engaging guests with redefined unique experiences. AI-driven advanced chatbots are set to revolutionize the hospital industry.
According to Drift’s 2018 “The State of Chatbots Report,” 33 % of people prefer to make reservations using a chatbot. Leveraging AI to provide an excellent user experience has caused many users more familiar with Chatbots. Many reputed and renowned global hotel chains have already started to reap huge benefits and profits by using chatbots.
Messaging a hotel concierge in the mobile and getting an instantaneous response is one of the chatbot’s best features. Without a need to download an app this kind of services make Chatbot popular and essential. Hence hotel patrons expect on-demand service as the first line of contact for guests. A chatbot is an ideal tool for such kind of fast service in short duration.
Ten best benefits of Chatbots in the hospitality industry
- Automate intelligent hotels
- AI-powered Precognitive customer service
- Virtual Assistance
- Intelligent travel assistance
- Better knowledge of customers with Big Data
- Upsell, Cross-sell & remarket services
- Break down language barriers
- 24/7 support
- Managing concierge
- Reduce costs & skyrocket profits
AI has created trust and facilitated the hospitality industry in a significant way. Often misconceived as a replacement for human power it is only a technological aid to transform the process and services. With its innovative methods, it provides the best of customer service satisfaction. In the last few years, it has made inroads in the hospitality industry. Now it has become part and parcel of major hotels and gaining momentum at a rapid pace.
1. Automate intelligent hotels
To fulfill all the customer expectations it is necessary to have a smart hotel. AI achieves this fundamental necessity of hotels for successful businesses which include:
- Digital Assistance
- Concierge robots
- Promotional offers
- Voice-activated services
- Travel experience enhancers
- Automatic data processing
- NLP or Natural language processing for machine learning
2. AI-powered Precognitive customer service
AI enabled chatbots offers a precognitive approach to the customers’ right from their time of arrival. They could provide services with this approach as per the preferences and required needs of customers.
- Suggesting special or new kind of dishes
- Ordering drinks, meals or for any requirement
- Managing reservations of all sort including dinners and lunch
- Controlling room temperature and lighting
- Itinerary planning and taxi booking
- Answering critical and essential queries instantaneously
- AI-powered in-built hotel app
- Gamification and other amusement assistance
- Access to unlimited data and international calls
- Recommending the best and exciting sightseeing and other special features and places to visit
3. Virtual Assistance
These virtual assistants provided by the world’s best companies have become the norm now. Apple’s Siri & Amazon’s Alexa and Echo services offer the most delightful customer experience with the power of machine learning of AI. They also streamline several hotel operations by astutely automating all the standard requests.
4. Intelligent travel assistance
The following features will facilitate the local travel for the customers with the help of AI.
- GPS facilities
- A handy and accessible guide to all the attractions of the place
- Swift access to hotel service assistants
- Return travel booking services
- Personalized options and recommendations for travel purposes
- Suggesting safe routes and ways of the locality
- Fast online assistance for any travel inquiries
5. Better knowledge of customers with Big Data
AI powering the Big Data enhances to know the customers’ behavior and their needs well. The data analytics platform enables us to get insights into the visiting customers. There are more possibilities to capture a gamut of information sitting in the background.
You can know the data from learning user preferences of the guests. It includes the correlation between geolocation & time vs. brand specific actions done by guests. Also, past responses, questions & queries, behavior tendencies, and preferences, and many more will enable tailor-made services possible which include:
- Travel choices
- Customer Purchases
- Journey patterns and itinerary
- Hotel rating inquiries
- Location preferences
- Payment methods
- Usage of particularly specialized amenities
6. Upsell, Cross-sell & remarket services
Chatbots make people wonder with the way they engage visitors with brand relevance and loyalty through interactions. Hospitality industry equipped with chatbots facility can increase selling opportunities better than humans without touting. A naïve guest staff could be unable to do the work of chatbots and could hurt the guests.
Chatbots powered by machine learning algorithms provide good business value for up-selling and cross-selling. Their capability to interact with multiple guests at the same time helps in promoting products including:
- Tour packages
- Better hotel rooms as per preference and as per the data from previous interactions
- Cruise promotions
- Ongoing offers & discounts
- Recommendations like push notifications
- Direct messages about the facilities like spa, hotel’s café’ and other many products and services
It is another fantastic feature of the chatbot facility in the hotel industry. Even after the guest leaving the hotel chatbot with an inbuilt CRM functionality can engage hotel guests. You can do this hassle-free engagement through digital platforms like social media, SMS, and emails. You can convey the new developments, facilities, offers & discounts quickly. It could develop a long-standing relationship for future growth of the hotel business.
7. Break down language barriers
With the globalization, visitors could speak any language from across the world. It is one most significant barrier for hotel businesses. The diverse guests and different countries speak different languages. Communication with them is a challenging job for providing personalized services. It is solved intelligently and innovatively by chatbots.
The multi-lingual functionality of chatbots helps break down the language barriers. Chatbots built on NLP or Natural Language processing standards help in machine learning for better communication. You can do it by deploying a chatbot on any favorite channel such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram, Kik, websites and many more. This help in the following in other ways:
- Avoid misunderstandings & undesired inconveniences
- Avoid embarrassing situations due to the language barrier
- Make the guests feel at home speaking their native languages
- Increase the reputation of the hotel
8. 24/7 support
Hotel services are made available 24/7 without the help of any internal or external assistance by deploying chatbots. A lot of money could be saved by not hiring assistance for 24/7 support by chatbots. Also, it enables instant and helpful answers any time of the guest’s stay.
9. Managing concierge
At peak times answering queries is not only a dangerous task but a costly one. It is because of hiring extra staff to attend and accomplish this. You can solve this by deploying chatbots. With its capability of interacting with any number of guests at the same time makes it possible. This time-saving facility increases the reputation and trust of guests for repeat visits. The queries could be any of the following, but Chatbots are the ones who answer and manage all the questions.
- Guest details
- Account details
- Room availability queries
- Complaints and issues
- Scheduling reservations
- Travel arrangements
- Check in and check out
- New bookings
- Reduce costs and skyrocket revenue:
10. Reduce costs & skyrocket profits
With chatbots, it is easy and fast to get the ROI. It is a dual combination of reducing costs and increasing revenue. You can do it in the following ways.
As per a report in Chatbots Magazine, deploying chatbots could save up to 30 % of operational costs. This chatbot business strategy enables this reduction in the following in other ways:
- Eliminate the investment in employing agents
- With its 24/7 365 support, it reduces the cost of hiring extra staff
- Reduces bounce rates and thereby converts visits to customers
- Reduces the advertisement and other promotional costs by maximizing the visit opportunities
Skyrocketing hotel revenue
For any business, income is the fundamental need for sustainability and success. Chatbots skyrocket the revenue of hotels in the following in other ways:
- Optimizes the advertisement and promotional activities
- Serve as a reservation channel for direct room and other bookings
- Chatbots being integrated everywhere automatically takes care of the entire processes
- Trust and loyalty with better services from chatbots increases business and revenue
- The reputation and standards set with chatbots get better reviews and increase revisits and recommended visits widely than ever before
Future of chatbots in the hospital industry
As per the timeline starting from May 2015 when Marriott launched Mobile Requests services via its App, it is only one way for chatbots. The month wise improvement indicates just a rapid development of chatbots in the hospitality industry.
That hotel that talks back 24/7 365 is the future, and it will take place by chatbots. The successful hotels of the future are the ones who can interlink artificial intelligence into their plan. Only this enables them to speak back to the guests through speakers and chatbots.
“Messaging, especially messaging done right at scale, is going to be a big game changer for the hotels”-Hilton’s Vice President
You can see these words in the chatbot development around the world. Most of the big chains are using chatbots and the medium, and small hotels are in the process of doing it. This year 2019 is going to be the year of investing in cognitive bots as per the CX prediction 2019.
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