Best Western hotels make the use of bots profitable

Hit by the pandemic, confinements and travel bans, the tourism and hospitality sector is gradually catching its breath. In order to further pamper fewer guests and provide a better experience, Best Western hotels are using bots.

This is not a first for the company which has already chosen several years ago to digitize its customer services through solutions combining artificial intelligence and human intelligence. “We have been working with iAdvize since 2018”, reveals Virginie Barboux Deputy CEO in charge of Communication, Digital & Customer Experience at Best Western.

50% of requests handled by the bot
After having initiated the project by proposing a tree-like bot with questions and answers prepared in advance, the company chose to opt for “messaging”, by integrating the bot into the instant messaging of its social networks, in particular “Facebook Messenger, iMessage and more recently WhatApp”, details the manager. “Over the past year, we have evolved towards an NLU bot which allows you to respond according to keywords”, she adds.

The Best Western Hotels & Resorts network has 300 independent hotels in France with policies that may vary from one establishment to another. The bots thus mainly make it possible to answer the questions of the customers, “they will ask us directly via the bot if such a hotel accepts dogs or cats for example and through our internal database we manage to answer them“, explains Virginie Barboux.

To date, 50% of requests are processed by the bot, which provides continuous service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This has made it possible in particular to draw up a portrait of new customer needs. “Thanks to our call bots, we realize that we have a lot of calls between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. “, details the manager. Among other things, it was possible to see that the majority of the requests relate to the services offered by the establishments (swimming pools, spa and other restaurants) but also the promotional operations of the company and the loyalty program which concentrate a third of the requests.

Increase in conversion and turnover
If one of the limitations of bots was customer membership, now that’s not really the case. “The Covid has made it possible to democratize the use of digital tools“, indicates Virginie Barboux. This is also reflected in the company’s results. “On average, we have a reservation conversion rate of 16.2% after conversation and the average basket from the bots is 24 euros higher“, she explains. The manager also indicates that the turnover increases from month to month and from year to year, and this, without including the use via WhatsApp which does not allow “track the conversion via cookies“.

For the time being, these bots are only in the domain of account managers who have all received training to use the iAdvize platform. They are also the ones who created the question and answer scenarios, “because they are the ones who have customers on the phone on a daily basis and manage friction“, explains the manager. The initial objective was customer satisfaction and not “thehe return on investment has now become an internal challenge“, she continues.

New, five hotels in the network are testing the tool put in their colors as well as directly from their site, the teams will be trained by Best Western if necessary, indicates the manager. In exchanges with bots, no identity or sensitive information is shared, the customer is directly directed to his personal space or will be contacted by an agent during opening hours. “We did not want to set up SSO inside the bot“, explains Virginie Barboux.

For the deputy director, although people remain essential, “these tools give back letters of nobility to the customer relationship professions“The company does not want to stop there when it comes to technology and the manager says she is confident in the future of this type of solution,”these tools will go even further with web 3.0“, she concludes.

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Best Western hotels make the use of bots profitable

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