Guest using chatbots on a mobile app to check in on a mobile device.

Chatbots Simplify Hotel Operations and Transform Guest Experience

It may sound like something out of an episode of The Jetson’s but AI (yes, this includes actual robot assistants, like The Jetson’s beloved Rosie), particularly in the form of chatbots, is making frequent appearances in the hospitality industry. The goal? To improve the guest experience through more efficient internal communication with digital workforce solutions.

This year’s AAHOA Annual Conference takes note of this growing hospitality trend with a seminar, “Technology To Improve Housekeeping and Maintenance Efficiency,” featuring Dorothy Creamer, Editor, Hospitality Technology; Micah Green, Founder, Maidbot; David Mitroff, Founder and CBC, Piedmont Avenue Consulting; and Raman Rama, President, Sarona Holdings. The seminar focuses on how hotel owners can leverage the latest digital workforce products and services to simplify and improve hotel operations to enhance the guest experience and ultimately drive occupancy rates.

How Digital Communication Tools Help Increase Bookings

According to a study of travel review sites conducted by Christopher Andersen, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at the Cornell School for Hotel Administration, higher occupancy rates are directly linked to how high a hotel’s reviews and ratings are. Specifically, the study analyzed Travelocity data that demonstrated that if a property increases its review scores by 1 point on a 5-point scale, the hotel can raise rates and still maintain the same occupancy.

Notably, Anderson’s findings point to social media as a powerful ally when it comes to consumer booking habits and to making sure a curious browser goes through with booking a room in your hotel. More broadly, these findings reflect an equally important insight: the way we navigate and complete much of the tasks in our personal and professional daily lives revolves around digital technology and informs our expectations of consumer experiences.

Exterior of a hotel showing four stars.

Fast Mobile Search Experiences Matter

The access to and ease-of-use of digital technology, particularly when it comes to mobile devices, affects purchase follow-through. A 2017 Think with Google study showed that if a website takes longer than three seconds to load, 53% of consumers will leave the site and conversion is lost. Put simply, with the vast, instant access to information digital technology provides, consumers aren’t afraid to take the time to compare lodging options—otherwise known as ‘shopping around’—and are using consumer opinions to inform their transactions.

AI and Chatbots: Partners in Providing an Exceptional Guest Experience

Far from worrying about frontline workforce replacement, those working in the hospitality industry should view AI, especially chatbots, as valuable communication tools that can boost productivity and enable frontline employees to focus on their primary priority: an exceptional guest experience.

A hotel’s consumer ratings and reviews will always reflect guest experiences, for better or for worse. The benefits of AI assistance in the form of chatbots are two-fold for your digital workforce, and have far-reaching, positive implications for the hospitality industry. Increased service efficiency means better delivery of a memorable guest experience, leading to brand loyalty and thus greater occupancy rates.

Here are some of the major hospitality service areas that impact the guest experience that can directly benefit from chatbots and AI automated operations using digital workforce communication tools. For example, your hotel can implement a custom mobile app that guests can download to enhance their stay in relationship to the following hospitality experiences:

  • Room service: Chatbots can virtually take the in-room orders of guests. Chatbots can be programmed to ask a variety of detailed questions to ensure your guests get exactly what they need (like specific condiments on their sandwich, or extra ice in their water) and can even schedule delivery.
  • Guest check-in and check-out: One of the most useful applications of a chatbot is as a virtual booking agent. Chatbots can send reminders to guests regarding the details of their stay, such as check-in and check-out times, and augment them if necessary based on guest requests (for example, extra pillows or special food or beverage items to be in-room upon arrival).
  • Maintenance requests: When a guest encounters an in-room issue, such as a burned-out light bulb or a broken appliance, chatbots can field guest issue reporting so repairs can be made quickly.
  • Special requests: From wake-up calls, “do not disturb” notifications, or delivery of extra towels or toiletries, chatbots can handle instantaneous communication of many of the most common guest requests. Instead of picking up the phone and calling the front desk, guests submit requests with one click using the mobile app. Hospitality teams receive automated notifications of these requests directly, and can complete them more quickly and efficiently.
  • Concierge services: Think of a chatbot as a 24/7 virtual local guide to the best food and entertainment options in the area, including on-premise dining and events. Chatbots can be set with the day or week’s latest events and promotions. Best of all, with your hotel app, guests can consult the chatbot concierge at their convenience, whether in their hotel room or on-the-go.

Screen shot of a hotel guest reporting a maintenance issue on a mobile device.

This is all good news for the hotel industry, which is already uniquely profitable and, according to hospitality experts, is poised to experience even higher occupancy rates in 2018. Loyal customers will continue to patronize a hotel property even when rates increase because they are loyal to the guest experience you have created.

With the help of chatbots and a digital workforce app like Beekeeper, guest services that previously commanded substantial staff time and energy can be automated. When tasks like these are delegated to digital technology, your workforce is free to assist with more complex guest needs and requests that require face-to-face interactions.

To see how chatbots and AI can increase hospitality revenue, download our white paper, “Digitization of the Non-desk Workforce.”

Domino's Pizza Improves Team Communication with Beekeeper

Domino’s Pizza Improves Team Communication with Beekeeper

As a global company with over 14,000 stores, Domino’s Pizza realized they needed a better, cross-operational workforce management solution to address major team communication hurdles and to streamline operations company-wide. One of the primary goals was to virtually connect locations to reduce considerable time delays when it came to distribution of crucial information to employees, vendors, and couriers.

Another workforce management and team communication priority was to create a dedicated space where all employees within the organization could connect and interact while enjoying quick access to operational workflows and HR tools.

Overcoming Team Communication Challenges

Prior to implementing their customized Beekeeper team app, Domino’s relied on HR to share schedules, delivery information, and other important notifications with store managers through inefficient team communication methods such as bulletin boards and emails.

Unlike store managers who had daily access to a computer, Domino’s Pizza’s frontline employees, chefs, couriers, and other mobile workers spend the majority of a shift on-the-go. Unfortunately, this meant that by the time these mobile workers received important messages, they were no longer relevant. Even worse, the customer experience was on the line. After all, in the service industry, timing is everything: a late pizza delivery due to team miscommunication could cost you customers.

A Workforce Management Solution: Domino’s Talk Team App

Given these team communication challenges, Domino’s Pizza leadership knew that a better workforce management tool was necessary. The solution needed to empower their dispersed teams without impacting the high level of customer service Domino’s Pizza is dedicated to delivering.

After making the commitment to mobilize and support a digital workforce, Domino’s Talk emerged, a custom team app created using Beekeeper. Working with the Beekeeper Customer Success team to implement Domino’s Talk, the team app simplified all aspects of workforce management with real-time, unified communications across store locations. Management even uses Beekeeper HR tools to automatically distribute onboarding materials like training videos.

Beekeeper Transforms the Domino’s Pizza Digital Workforce

The Domino’s Talk team app leverages some of the key Beekeeper product features, including the ability to enable read receipts to confirm that all employees are up to date on important company information. With HR chatbots, Domino’s employees can easily retrieve their payslips via the team app without having to ask HR.

HR chatbot in Beekeeper's team communication app

Before Domino’s Talk, this time-consuming and costly process took two to three hours to complete, manually stuffing payslips into envelopes and sending them by mail. Another Domino’s Talk benefit is security: in contrast to other third-party group messaging services such as WhatsApp, employees can directly message each other securely and stay in better touch regarding sales numbers, which has increased motivation.

Another benefit of the Domino’s Talk team app is that it has empowered corporate office team members and managers to more consistently recognize exemplary frontline employee performance directly and in a more timely manner with photos or congratulatory posts. The team communication benefits of Domino’s Talk have been so successful that future goals for the team app include using chatbots to conduct employee engagement and satisfaction surveys.

Schedule a demo to see how Beekeeper’s customized team app can dramatically improve team communication for your digital workforce.

Beekeeper is the team communication app for the digital workforce

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