ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Why Human Hotel Live Chat is Better Than Chatbots
By DJ Vallauri
Thursday, 1st February 2018

If you were to call a hotel, which would you rather get: an automated system that spent fifteen minutes and eight side menus to get through without resolving your problem, or an actual person who can help you immediately?

You’d choose the person, every time. Everyone would.

Live chat is no different. Live chat with real, actual people will be superior than conversations with chatbots on the other side every single time. It may cost a little bit more to pay someone to handle the live chat, but it’s a cost that will provide a return on investment multiple times over.

Here’s how…

Chatbots Are Stuck to Pre-programmed Responses

Chatbots aren’t “smart,” even if you program them really, really well. They are limited to only answer questions they’ve been programmed to identify, and they can only provide a set number of answers to those limited questions.

Sure, when a customer asks about amenities offered by your hotel, they can spout off information about the pool and complimentary breakfast. Your chatbot will fall short, however, when potential customers ask if there’s a limit on towels at the pool or if their breakfast can be gluten-free, dairy-free, and pork-free.

These small, detailed questions won’t matter to 99% of customers, but the answer could decide whether or not that potential customer books with you. And while only one person will ask each of these questions, an enormous chunk of customers reaching out will have a different question that matters to them. It’s impossible to program for that.

People Understand Nuance

Chatbots only spit out binary responses. Yes and no, we have that or we don’t, I do or don’t understand the request, was or wasn’t this answer helpful? Human beings understand nuance in a way that chatbots never will. Instead of “yes and no,” we can provide “maybe, let’s take a look.”

When it comes to hotel bookings—which may include conference, event, or wedding bookings—there could easily be many grey areas. For example can you extend the number of discounted rooms for our event?

A chatbot will only routinely cycle through policies you’ve taught it; it is incapable of nuance or negotiation, which could be crucial to landing large bookings.

People Actually Care

Whoever said business isn’t personal was flat out wrong. Business is immensely personal, and if customers feel like you don’t care about them, they’ll go straight to your competition. Chatbots, by nature, cannot care. At best they’ll appear polite, but they won’t have the capability to go above and beyond like a dedicated customer service specialist; they’ll just replay the same menu of options on a loop.

A real person will care that your customer is stressed, or upset, or confused. Since you could lose these customers quickly without turning around their experience, it is essential to have a dedicated representative ready to tackle their problem with them.

Long story short: you want to invest in human live chat instead of relying on chatbots. You can’t afford not to.

Lodging Interactive, through its CoMMingle Live Chat service, offers hotels a fully managed and affordable live chat service available 7 days a week. For more information on Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle Live Chat for Hotels or call 877-291-4411 Ext 701.

About Lodging Interactive

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas.

CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses. The company also offers fully managed Live Chat agents for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com division.

Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner, and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.

Lodging Interactive is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the company’s president, DJ Vallauri, currently serves on the Board of Directors of HSMAI”s New York Chapter and is a Forbes.com Agency Council contributor. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411

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