Most consumers today are very comfortable using Live Chat to engage with brands and find it extremely convenient to be able to do so at a time and place of their own choosing. Yet, the hospitality industry has been slow to adopt this technology as a method for real-time customer engagement. Technology and staffing issues around the clock 7 days a week undoubtedly are reasons for the slow adoption.
NB: This is an article from Lodging Interactive
Last summer Lodging Interactive launched a fully managed Live Chat service exclusively for the hospitality industry to help hotels improve their guest and potential guest engagements. Through their Live Chat service, hotels benefit from real-time customer engagement without the headache and expense of managing Live Chat internally.
“Our CoMMingle Live Chat service provides an assisted sales function for hotel websites, where there currently is none,” stated DJ Vallauri, Founder & CEO of Lodging Interactive. “As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to interacting via Live Chat services with many brands and it’s time the hospitality industry provides conversation commerce support as well, especially as hotels look to increase their share of direct website business.”
Here are the top 5 reasons why today’s hotels must have a human Live Chat service on their websites:
Live Chat Reason Number 1: Time is Money.
Time is something we, as consumers, have very little of these days. Any business that can provide additional time to its customers is going to win in the loyalty game. And loyalty is what creates business opportunities. For hotels, this means booked rooms.
When potential guests are visiting your website, and have questions about your property or destination, they traditionally must either call or send an email and then wait for a reply. We have all had this experience as consumers but it is not the best way to provide immediate customer service to potential customers. Live Chat addresses this service gap for hoteliers.
Our CoMMingle Live Chat service on your website is an enabler that connects your potential guests with business opportunities for your hotel via Live Chat operators who are always standing by ready to support your website visitors needs. And because our CoMMingle Live Chat service is completely mobile enabled, potential guests can request immediate service and assistance from anywhere. Our hotel Live Chat live service agents will always be there ready to assist them.
Live Chat Reason Number 2: Humanizes Your Brand
Real-time Live Chat service enables your hotel to connect with its guests in a human manner. No robots allowed. Today’s consumers want to feel connected to a brand or company on a human level. With all the automated messaging, artificial intelligence and chat bots available today, your hotel can really standout by providing a human connection with your guests. Use Live Chat to engage with them as you would on a telephone call. And because it is a human interaction, your emotion and empathy will clearly come through to win the customer.
Live Chat Reason Number 3: Offer FAQs in Real Time
Hotel websites that offer FAQs are in the minority. It is a shame that most hotel websites do not offer frequently asked questions pages. As consumers, we have come to expect FAQ pages on every e-commerce website we visit. Yet for whatever reason, the hospitality industry has not adopted such a practice. With the competitive nature of direct online hotel bookings, maintaining an FAQs page on your website should be as ubiquitous as your booking engine.
Live Chat can take the FAQs page to and even higher level by providing a real-time human engagement experience with your customers. Providing our service on your website increases the likelihood potential customers will begin to engage with your Live Chat agents as they are clicking through your website; side by side and even when the customer transitions from your website into your booking engine.
Live Chat Reason Number 4: Increase Group RFP’s
Through the use of Live Chat, agents are able to share group related documents in real-time with potential customers while they’re on your website. For example, agents can immediately share floor plans, catering menus and even available event booking specials. This form of “assisted sales” has resulted in an uplift of group RFP’s submitted on a month-over-month basis.
Live Chat Reason Number 5: Immediate Crisis Management
When a potential crisis situation begins to flare up, Live Chat agents can be the first line of defense for your hotel. They can engage with customers immediately and potentially defuse the situation and potential stop negative guest reviews on TripAdvisor.
BONUS: Competitive Advantages / Marketplace Differentiation
And, as an added bonus, a Live Chat service on your hotel’s website is a competitive advantage and a true differentiator. When you consider that Live Chat is only available on a handful of hotel websites across the country, there is no doubt that your hotel can clearly differentiate itself from its competitive set within the marketplace. Research continues to support that consumers would rather do business through websites that have Live Chat verses those that do not. In fact, 63% of consumers are more likely to return to a website that had Live Chat verses one that did not.