The future is unknown but that doesn’t mean we can't be ready and prepared for whatever is thrown our way…
Case study 1- AI Chatbot assistance and service revealed
The world is ever changing and nobody can say with confidence what 2021 has in store for us but if there is one thing we have learned from the year just passed, it is to expect the unexpected. Keep your finger on the pulse people and be prepared for anything. Be ready to adapt, and pivot quickly, for those who do not adapt are left behind.
The unpredictability of COVID-19 is certainly keeping us on our toes. Companies are revisiting their business models in the hope to create a resilient, long term strategy to stay afloat in these turbulent times, and industries of all kinds, have completely reshaped how they operate and connect with their customers – I know the hospitality and accommodation industries certainly have.
Wondering what I am talking about? I am getting to my point – bare with me!
When a community outbreak alert is issued, and the government imposes travel restrictions to and from a hotspot for x number of days, what is our first reaction? Well, this will depend on individual circumstances so here are a couple of examples….
Many will head to the shops and panic buy before lockdowns kicks in and strip the supermarket shelves of let's say, anything they possibly can or
If you have travel plans and they are to a publicised hotspot or you are transiting through the hotspot – what do you do? You contact the hotel/holiday park/resort and try to gather as much information as you can: Are you going to be open? Will I have to quarantine? Do you have a COVID safe plan? Can I cancel or postpone my booking? So many questions…
Current market conditions call for the fast adoption of technology which is definitely part of the new norm and keeping track of the latest technology trends and moving with the times is critical.
A perfect example of AI proving itself to be an essential asset in order to keep delivering premium guest service was during the recent announcement by the NSW government of a possible outbreak in Sydney around the 15th of December and the imminent danger of border closures so close to the Christmas break.
The impact of a COVID announcement and how a chatbot can cut in and service clients is shown below.
The following data insights have been captured by the AI chatbot Book Me Bob from two hotels in two different Australian states during this December announcement.
Hotel in Sydney, NSW
Below are two graphs: Graph one shows an increase in traffic to the hotel webpage on the day of the announcement (15th December) and the second graph shows the amount of time (in minutes) the chatbot engaged with customers. As you can see there is a significant increase compared to the rest of the month on the day of the announcement.
With the use of the AI Chatbot, the hotel staff were able to continue delivering excellent guest service at the desk whilst operating with skeleton staff conditions the chatbot was able to engage, assist, serve and answer the enquiries from online guests immediately with reliability and precision.
The AI Chatbot can handle up to 2000 questions a minute!
For the month of December, the AI chatbot engaged in 161 minutes worth of conservation with customers - again taking pressure off the hotel staff while operating with a skeleton team.
Hotel in Queensland, Australia
Now let’s head north to Queensland and look at what was happening at a different hotel on the same day the NSW government made the announcement of a possible covid outbreak. The results are incredibly interesting!
Before we go any further, I would like to point out that both of these hotels differ greatly however, they both operate with the same AI Chatbot platform – Book Me Bob!
First and foremost, this hotel is an award winning property with a tip-top, proactive marketing team, which means… more website traffic. If you compare the visitor graphs, you can see this hotel has, on average, 600 visitors per day as opposed to the Sydney hotel, attracting an average of 180 visitors.
If you look at the digital assistant engagement graph, you will see that on the 15th and 17th of December, customers engaged with the AI Chatbot for over 5000 minutes on both days. That’s 83.3 hours' worth of conversations!
Imagine your reception team (or solo staff member) trying to answer emails and phone calls in this 24 hour period…
That is something you can not roster for or prepare for but… If you have a well trained AI Chatbot, the high volume of questions, queries, and concerns will be answered in a consistent and time efficient manner. There’s no doubt about it, this AI Chatbot proved it can work well under pressure over these two days, that’s for sure!
If you take another look at the digital assistant engagement graph, you will notice a couple more spikes toward the end of the month. These spikes were driven by the Queensland Government alert of possible border closures, which again, caused a lot of engagement. If you compare this with the NSW hotel example for the end of the month, there was minimal impact on the hotel in NSW from the QLD government announcement.
What I find quite staggering is the total minutes of engagement for the month of December for this hotel - over 13447 minutes! That is incredible. This equates to 224 hours worth of conversations that a human did not have to engage in, freeing them up so they could work on other duties at hand and focus on the guests at the desk as opposed to online. Let’s pretend the AI Chatbot is a human employee with a wage for the month of December. The timesheet would show 224 hours @ $25 (average Australian reception hourly rate) equaling $5,600 for the month. This makes you think this could be the point of difference for a business to survive the next 12 to 18 months! I am not saying a AI Chatbots should replace human interaction or the personal human touch however, the AI Chatbot is a fellow partner and colleague helping to improve the guest experience and to drive down costs across the industry improving overall productivity.
An AI Chatbot means workloads can be rationalised and excellent service can continually be delivered whilst businesses operate with limited resources and skeleton staff.
My final conclusion is this,
The world is and will always be changing, there is currently a lot of uncertainty and no one really knows when it will end.
Over the next 12 - 18 months, the technology industry will play a fundamental role in the tourism and hospitality industries. AI will help the industry navigate through the unknown.
The question I have for you, it’s actually a few questions :-)
Is your business ready and prepared for this amount of uncertainty? Does your hospitality business have an AI Chatbot?
When was the last time you used a chatbot in another industry? There is no denying it, chatbots are becoming part of online everyday life. So, if you want an AI Chatbot that was created by hoteliers for hoteliers and trained by professionals to engage and interact just like a human, one that is guest focused, has the ability to drive direct bookings and is 1/10th the cost of a human, then make contact with someone from Book Me Bob.
This case study is Co-written by David Thompson CEO & Co-Founder Book Me Bob and Charlie Young Senior VP Growth Australia & USA Book Me Bob.
Fun fact about the Authors: Both David & Charlie are from the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School. Charlie is from the Inaugural class 1991 and David is Class of 1994, combined they have 60 years of international hotel management and now they are working together on the new cause to help save the hospitality industry they love via new technology and still give amazing hospitality service.