Do you know what happens when you turn on a chatbot in your hotel? Over the last 12 months, hoteliers have massively embraced chatbots in an effort to drive up direct sales by engaging customers.
Chatbots do NOT have the ability to think. There are different kinds of AI and I hate to break the dream but what chatbots use is called NLU (Natural Language Understanding). In short, they are stupid machines that are trained to use semantic analysis and recognize speech patterns that they associate with specific answers.
For Zoe (my chatbot), airport transportation is Dialog 11-01. When a customer asks her how he can get from the airport to the hotel, at no moment does Zoe understand any of this – and that’s perfectly fine. You just need her to be really good at detecting the semantic patterns that trigger dialog 11-01 and delivering the associated answer. Chatbots really are dumb! But they can be very useful when used for specific missions such as answering hotel customers’ requests. Since the same questions keep popping up over and over again, they often deliver the right answer faster than humans.
You need to make sure that the answers you insert correspond to what the customers usually want to know. They must exhaust the question. Otherwise, customers will keep asking for additional information and the chatbot will fail. When this happens, remember that this issue is not related to artificial intelligence. Take a deep breath and adjust your answer to Dialog 11-01. Repeat the operation as many times as necessary until you get it right.
Many customers don’t seek practicality as much as they seek reassurance. The main idea behind traditional websites and booking engines is for the customer to search for what he needs and bear the weight of the purchase on his shoulders. When you turn on a chatbot in your hotel, it effortlessly provides the right information on demand. Chatbots exist to reduce the mental effort associated with booking a room. They also make sure that hesitant, lazy and mentally exhausted customers book direct. Most of us have way too much going on so we will gladly go for the hotel that takes us by the hand. It is not because there is a booking button on your website that everyone will want to use it. A chatbot is an additional hook to help lazy customers spend their money on your hotel.