Live chats & chatbots
Chatbots, sometimes referred to as chatterbots or bots, are software applications that enable automated conversations through messaging interfaces such as a live chat on a hotel’s website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, or other instant communication channels. Chatbots currently support 3 main use cases. The first one is to increase operational efficiency. While every guest is unique, most of their questions & requests are repetitive and can be answered by automated replies. Chatbots act as a filter so that only the questions that require human attention will be escalated to staff. The second use case is driving hotel direct bookings. The conversation format makes it easy for customers to get the information they seek but it also enables the chatbot to capture customer details, travel dates or special wishes. The third use case is fulfilling customer expectations, static content becoming less and less relevant to mobile customers. Chatbots offer instant access to relevant information. There is a distinction to be made between simple chatbots (rule-based) which match user questions with predefined answers, and advanced chatbots that use artificial intelligence to expand knowledge and capabilities over time by learning through interactions with users. The best chatbots use a combination of intent detection and machine learning, with escalation to live agents if they do not understand or do not yet have the knowledge to handle a query.