September 27, 2021
Real-time chatting dates back to the 1970s, nearly two decades before the introduction of the world wide web! The internet opened up even more opportunity for real-time chat rooms and by the 1990s we were already discussing “chatiquette” and how to conduct business politely in chat rooms. By 2000, companies were adopting real-time chat rooms as part of their internal communications and customer support strategies, by 2010 chatbots, apps and software were commonplace, and experts predict that by 2022, 85% of businesses are expected to incorporate live chat into their tech-stack.
The world is embroiled in a global pandemic, and it is clear that artificial intelligence, automation, and digitalization are driving growth across all business sectors as we embrace the new norm of both business practices and guest communication.
The first step is to modernize your brand and ensure you have a direct booking website that will attract guests, answer their questions, and lead them to a seamless, quick, and hassle-free booking process. But what if your website does not answer all their questions as they plan their vacation? Research shows your potential guest is likely to move on to the next option before taking the time to make a phone call if the answer to their questions are not readily available. Don’t lose bookings (potential guests!) over unanswered questions and less than satisfactory website support.
The Best Live Chat Solution for your Business
Live chat allows you to engage, support, and convert with an easy-to-implement solution that integrates with your existing software and meets the specific needs of your business. There are many different live chat software solutions that are cost-effective, secure, and offer a tech-enabled solution for conversational marketing, instant customer support, and higher lead conversion. First, you need to consider which option suits your unique business needs.
Reactive Live Chat: Reactive live chat is where the user begins the conversation, the chat box is there but it’s up to the prospective guest to click to connect and begin the conversation. This is useful to feature across all your landing pages for guests to click for more information. The average engagement on reactive live chat is only 2% of your site traffic.
Proactive Chat: Proactive live chat pops up regardless (based on your chosen set of rules) and begins the conversation. Proactive chat has almost four times higher engagement than reactive chat, showing the potential guest you are readily available to offer a personalized guest experience and giving you the opportunity to offer promotions, assist with their vacation plans, influence the booking decision and convert a looker into a booker!
The Benefits of Live Chat in Hospitality
Apart from offering your guests a smooth and engaging guest experience from the first touchpoint, the advantages and benefits of live chat in the hospitality industry and the return on investment is worth the consideration for every property manager seeking the upper hand in their market.
Human Touch: In exploring the balance between technology and the valued human touch, it’s evident that guests still seek a personalized experience and human connection. Live chat is a human-led solution that allows you to interact with your potential guests on a personal level from the first touchpoint (and even set your rules to recognize them on return) giving your brand the human touch and building relationships before the booking even takes place.
A High Return on Investment: Live chat is an affordable solution, easy on the budget with a high return on investment and positive impact on your bottom line. Live chat is the preferred form of communication with nearly three-quarters of consumers, is more efficient (costing nearly 50% less than phone support), and increases guest engagement, allowing the agent to engage in multiple chats with different guests at the same time.
Enhanced Guest Communications: The days of traditional phone calls are over. Traditional forms of communication may suit your old-school guests (and it’s important to meet your guests where they’re at) but your business needs to advance beyond that. Live chat is the number one service choice for shoppers and the solution you need for smart, real-time guest communications with a quick response to their questions and satisfying the ever-growing need for instant gratification.
Lookers to Bookers: Live chat influences booking decisions, increases conversion rates, and turns lookers into bookers. Online shopping cart abandonment rates are as high as 75% and 53% of customers are likely to abandon an online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer. The top reasons for cart abandonment are complicated navigation, unexpected costs, security concerns, unresponsive customer service, and unanswered questions, these can all be resolved with a live chat solution. Live chat encourages guests to communicate their requests and complete the booking, decreasing cart abandonment and increasing conversion rates.
Keep the Competitive Edge: Offering your guests key engagement opportunities puts you ahead of the game. Only 9% of companies currently use live chat on their website yet research shows it is the preferred method of interaction. Smart companies are using live chat not only for guest communications but to market their products and special offers and close the deal!
In summary, not using live chat is the fastest way to lose business! If you need further convincing that live chat is a winning strategy for your business, Virgin airlines boosted conversion rates by 23% and Intuit an astonishing 190% after implementing live chat across their online platforms. We say it’s worth a try!