How to Boost Hotel Bookings with AI Chatbots

Kshitij Chaudhary
2 min read
April 15, 2024

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have already seen the rapid pace with which generative AI apps have taken over the world. Things are not so different in the world of hospitality.

From taking up follow-ups to automating conversations on Instagram and WhatsApp, generative AI chatbots have become an essential tool to help you improve the bottom line. However, you can use the chatbots in more than one way. 

In this article, we will dive into the world of generative AI and look at the different ways these chatbots can help you boost your hotel bookings. So let’s jump right in.

1. Helps you Decrease the First Response Time

Your First Response Time (FRT) is the average time it takes for someone from an organization to respond to a customer inquiry. It’s also something that can make or break your brand perception as a hotelier.

Remember, 40% of guests today expect a response to their inquiries within the first hour, and 79% expect it within the first 24 hours, as a report by BVC suggests. This fact is particularly important, especially when around 56% of hotel brands don’t respond to customer inquiries at all, or are often too late.

A generative AI chatbot fixes this problem of yours for good. Built with the latest AI technologies, a chatbot automates your replies by replying to customer inquiries in a human-like tone.

2. Optimize Your Upsell and Cross-selling Opportunities

It’s often said you have not got your sales right unless you’re upselling and cross-selling to your customers. Nowhere is this statement truer than in the hotel industry, where upselling strategies can increase your total revenue by a solid 14.05%, and cross-selling techniques can net you some additional revenue, as this piece by mirai suggests.

Sometimes it’s easy to confuse the two as well. Remember: Upselling is when you present higher or better options to your guests—an upgrade on their existing purchase. Cross-selling, on the other hand, is when you offer extra services, something apart from the main product.

So optimizing your cross-selling and upselling opportunities will be one of the easiest ways to increase your hotel booking revenue. Here are a few ways AI can help in both:

  1. Based on past user data, AI chatbots can personalize customer data to offer apt upselling and cross-selling opportunities, which are more likely to result in better conversion.
  2. The latest language models let them engage with guests in an almost human-like way.
  3. Seamless transfer to a human agent when and if the guest asks the AI agent to.   

3. Integrates Well with Your Social Media Channels

AI Chatbot for Social Media Channel

A generative-AI chatbot can also integrate well with your social media channels—WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook—to improve automated responses to user queries and comments.

Remember, in 2024, engagement with your followers and users is key. Nowhere is this more true than in the hotel industry, where 72% of travelers are more likely to read the reviews of the place they’d like to stay or eat at, as this Tripadvisor report suggests. So online brand perception matters.

Indeed, a lot of travelers today, before they make a purchase, first check out the hotel online and perhaps even ping the social media channels to get their confirmation or doubts cleared. So unless you have an active social or sales team that’s replying to these inquiries, that’s a lot of lost bookings. A generative AI agent will handle all your queries for this, leading to higher bookings.

Similarly, it can also offer automated and personalized offers and discounts, based on your guest’s data and history; this can push your customers to make the final purchase.

Let’s look at some of the most popular social media solutions:

3.1. WhatsApp Chatbot Integration

With a whopping open rate of 98%, WhatsApp is a critical element of any good hotel marketing strategy. It’s also not optimized in a lot of cases.

For instance, a lack of personalized and automated pop-ups for upsells and cross-selling is a huge lost opportunity in terms of revenue. Similarly, slow responses, lack of appropriate communications or customized replies, and so on, are some other ways you could be missing many opportunities. Here are a few ways you can improve your hotel bookings with an AI chatbot integration:

  1. Offer your amenities, different booking options, etc., on a catalog where your guests are most likely to see them. A generative-AI chatbot will do this at the most appropriate times, based on past data.
  2. Collect guests reviews from a place that’s convenient to them, and improve your brand perception.
  3. Wish your guests on their birthdays or anniversaries for fostering better relationships.

Integrating a generative-AI chatbot will improve all of these tasks for you.

Read Also - WhatsApp Marketing for Hotels in 2024: The Ultimate Guide

3.2. Instagram Chatbot Integration

Instagram is another important channel for you as a hotelier. More visually focused than all the other social media channels, a chatbot integrated Instagram can help you: 

  1. Automate human-like replies to any comments or inquiries on your social media posts.  
  2. Initiate conversations with people who interact with your content (usually likes or follows).
  3. It can automate your sales follow-ups on Instagram, leading to a boost in your revenue. 

4. Gives Your Customers a Seamless 24/7 Customer Service    

You can have the best customer service team, but it’s highly likely you’d miss out on some customer inquiry, calls or texts. This is especially true during the off-hours, when your staff will be off from work.

Suffice it to say, this is a serious loss in your hotel bookings, and ultimately, your hotel revenue. So you need to get something else. A hotel chatbot can help you in cases like this.

Responding to your customer queries 24/7, a generative AI chatbot like Brance can handle all your customer queries in human-like form and so provides a seamless experience to your guests.

An AI chatbot also replies to guest queries instantly, which is huge factor to confirming a booking for a variety of reasons:

  1. Quick replies improve your brand perception.
  2. They prevent your guests from going to a competitor.
  3. You can preemptively act on all social media comments and posts. 

5. Increase Your Revenue Through Automated Follow Ups  

Rarely do sales happen in a single cycle. In almost all cases, an effective follow-up strategy is required and followed. In fact, as per some studies, every sales deal requires at least five follow-ups.

A generative AI chatbot can automate this process for you, freeing your sales agents for other tasks like prospecting and approaching new leads, while the AI deals with prospects in a high buy state. 

This can also be especially helpful when your guests reach out to you during off hours, as it often happens. 

6. Cut the Clutter with a Unified Sales and Inbox Support

The only thing worse than no communication channel or inbox is having a communication channel that’s all broken and the messages and data all over the place.

Indeed, keeping track of all your communications from multiple channels can get clumsy very easily. With a generative AI chatbot solution, you can integrate all your communication from different channels like email, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc., to a single inbox and dashboard.

This is super helpful in avoiding your staff chasing the same prospects, miscommunication, and so on. 

7. Gives Support and Sales for 100+ Languages

One of the biggest issues with automated systems is dealing with a diverse customer base, where you might have to interact with people with hundreds of languages.

A generative AI chatbot is trained to interact in most languages–100+ in case of Brance’s Gen-AI chatbot–enhancing your customer service. It also offers you a way to serve a large number of people, which you’d otherwise miss out on.  

Boosting Your Hotel Bookings with AI Chatbots 

Technology has always introduced one change or the other in the way things used to be done. The hotel industry has gone through many such changes itself. Starting with adoption of central reservation systems to the soaring popularity of OTAs, all the hoteliers have to adapt with the changing tides.

Generative AI chatbots, then, are but another wave of change to old ways of doing things. Specifically, they cut down your first response time, improve sales processes through automations, and even improve your marketing and customer service, ultimately leading to higher revenue. So make sure you adapt to the new changes in technology and change with the times.    

Read Also - The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Marketing: How to Develop a Hotel Marketing Plan

Kshitij Chaudhary

Kshitij founded Brance with the vision of helping hoteliers increase their direct bookings using AI. Over the last ten years, he has led the Marketing and Growth of several technology organizations and start-ups such as BCG, Shuttl, House of Beauty, etc.

He also loves traveling and sports.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is First Response Time important in inside sales?

First Response Time holds a great importance in inside sales because it influences customer satisfaction. Ultra-fast responses improve the chances of potential leads getting converted into paying and loyal customers.

What are the consequences of a delayed first response in inside sales?

A delay in First response time can result in missed opportunities, customer frustration, and a negative impact on conversion rates. Potential leads may lose interest or shift to competitors when experience a delay in response time.

What role does technology play in reducing first response time?

Technology plays a vital role in reducing first response time through automation. AI-driven chatbots streamline the communication process and enables faster interactions.

Why is First Response Time important in inside sales?

First Response Time holds a great importance in inside sales because it influences customer satisfaction. Ultra-fast responses improve the chances of potential leads getting converted into paying and loyal customers.

What are the consequences of a delayed first response in inside sales?
What role does technology play in reducing first response time?

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