How Hotel Merkur connects with guests in times of social distancing

How Hotel Merkur connects with guests in times of social distancing

As the hotel industry starts to rebound slowly but surely, it’s time for hotels to rethink processes to give the experience travelers need and demand. The challenge now is to deliver an equally excellent service while operating with fewer resources and keeping a safe distance. 

The current crisis might be an opportunity for hotel brands to reinvent themselves and move forward with digital strategies. Especially guest facing technology can help in times of social distancing and insecurity to engage and stay connected with guests and deliver great contactless customer service. Digitization is becoming a critical success factor in the crisis more than ever.  

Hotel Merkur stays connected with guests

We live in an instant and multichannel world. For any business, it is not enough anymore to answer emails or telephone. That is also true for the hotel business. Hotels must be online on different communication channels: website, social media, and messaging apps. Being contactable, accessible, responsive and eager to solve consumers’ problems on the website is key. 

With this in mind and with the objective of improving their guest communication and website user experience, Hotel Merkur, a family run superior 3-Star hotel in the center of Baden-Baden, Germany, implemented DialogShift’s guest chat platform, allowing guests to message the hotel on the website, in Facebook Messenger and through the DialogShift Mobile Chat App during their stay. 

Communication preferences are shifting and guests love the simplicity and convenience of a chat – especially on the website. The fact that they talk to a chatbot usually does not bother them. It is more important that they get an instant answer”, Matthias Hirsch, owner and General Manager. 

The chatbot answers frequently asked questions, forwards booking requests to the booking engine and hands over questions to a human employee. With an IBE conversion rate of 18 – 33 %, meaning that every 5th to 3rd user of the chat is forwarded into the booking engine and books a room, the chat helped to engage with guests and drive direct bookings. During the COVID-19 crisis the chatbot became a vital tool to stay in touch with guests and build trust through an open and proactive communication. 

Increase of chat interactions on the website of Hotel Merkur from from mid-April onwards

Increase of chat interactions on the website of Hotel Merkur from from mid-April onwards

As hotels around the globe start opening, people need all reassurance they can have about the hygiene protocols and the hotel’s operations before booking a room. People search and visit hotel websites to get such information, so websites should serve as a reliable source for potential guests and allow them to easily find the information they need to make a booking.More than ever, hotels need to be available to capture these potential guests by providing the answers they are looking for. 

At Hotel Merkur, the three most frequently asked questions revolve around bookings and cancellations, hygiene measures and breakfast and restaurant.

At Hotel Merkur, the three most frequently asked questions revolve around bookings and cancellations, hygiene measures and breakfast and restaurant. 

Chatbots enhance the guest experience 

Guests want to communicate with hotels easily and efficiently. When it comes to searching for information or assistance, nothing beats the simplicity of asking a simple question, in your own words, and receiving the exact answer you’re seeking.  According to the American Marketing Association, customers who use a website chat are 3 times more likely to buy a product or service on the same website.

Efficiency

One of the main advantages of having a hotel chatbot is the ability to answer multiple guests on multiple channels in multiple languages at the same time. A robot doesn’t take pauses, works 24/7, and can communicate in several languages. Hotel Merkur’s chatbot speaks more than 100 languages and answers about 70 % of incoming requests automatically. Automation didn’t come to replace personalized service, but to help it. It makes it possible for human employees to have time to fully dedicate to the art of hospitality, without having to stress with simple questions that overload work on a daily basis.

Covid-19 communication through a chat feels more personal and builds trust

A good conversation is key

People like words that flow, that make them feel good and spark their curiosity. In addition to the waiting time, good and engaging guest communication is now more crucial than ever. If guests get short and uncomplete answers, the chances of them booking with the hotel drop significantly. To give a full and engaging answer is crucial when communicating with potential clients. DialogShift’s hotel chatbots don’t simply give answers. They charmingly lead the conversation, give additional information, recommendation and insiders’ tips. This way hotels can drive engagement and conversion at the most relevant customer touch points. 

Keep guests coming 

Many processes are going through dramatic changes, from cleanliness procedures to customer service in social distancing. As the future of hospitality starts to unfold, the hotel industry may not return to business as it was before the COVID-19. Hotels will need to adapt to this new reality as guests may still feel the need to distance themselves from others for a while. That means including new procedures and technologies to keep the excellence of hospitality and customer service virtually.

DialogShift enables hotels to assist and engage with their guests in the most convenient and effective way – via text messaging / chat. Hotels can take guest communication to the next level and allow automated and live conversational experiences along the entire guest journey and drive engagement and conversion on the website, messaging platforms or guest apps.