Some hotels are now using virtual customer service assistants- will they be well received?
Chatbots are on the rise in the hospitality sector and are continuing to gain momentum with positive feedback from hotel guests. They are an Artificial Intelligence that communicate with guests through a messaging app interface. Most people are already comfortable utilizing instant messaging through apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, so the transition to submitting queries digitally is an easy one.
Last April, Facebook released a Chatbot platform for businesses to use to create their own bots, which led to them being employed for various purposes. Some of the most popular are for finance managing, weather updates, healthcare questions, and travel planning. The latest development being in the hotel industry.
Hotel concierge bots are implemented in order to enhance a guest’s customer service experience. Chatbots can be customized to answer a wide range of inquiries and even to have a unique personality.
One of the first groups of hotels to take advantage of this capability was Edwardian Hotels, who created a bot named, ‘Edward’ to respond to customers in seconds. ‘Edward’ can provide amenities and reservations to the guests.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas has taken it a step further with its bubbly and charismatic ‘Rose.’ When guests arrive at the hotel they are given a card with Rose’s phone number that reads: “Know my secrets. Text me.” and “I am the answer to the question that you never asked.” This gives them the choice of contacting a staff member or texting Rose.
Rose is able to make recommendations for restaurants and bars, give tours, schedule deliveries to guests’ rooms, and even play games! Her personality serves to both inform and amuse the guests. She can even be a bit flirty at times when asked the right questions and is known to make jokes about the cabana boy. With this kind of success happening, it’s not hard to see why hotels are experimenting with Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence.
Aside from big names like the Cosmopolitan, Chatbots are still very much a new development in the customer service field. Many bots are unable to answer a plethora of questions with accuracy and often run into the frustration of “Sorry, My programming doesn’t allow for a response to that query.” Over time we should expect to see huge advances in the programming capabilities of these Artificial Intelligences, but for now don’t expect their human counterparts to be completely replaced. There is still something about a human interaction that a Chatbot may never quite be able to replicate, but they sure do make a great assistant!
–Kyrie Woodring, Creative Marketing