Welcome Guests To Your Hotel Site With Chat, And Help Them Make Bookings
Most everyone is familiar with “online hospitality”, as a concept… but there’s a problem.
The trouble is, many hotels leave their website hospitality at the stage of concept. They don’t take action to welcome site visitors, help them, or actively guide bookings. But it can drastically improve your reputation, and your direct bookings.
Take a moment to think about how you treat “hospitality” in real life, at your hotel.
It’s central to everything, right? Phone calls are met with friendly, responsive help to help the guest make the booking they desire. When checking in, guests are greeted with a warm welcome, and helped to get what they need for a happy stay. Questions and requests are met quickly and pleasantly, to ensure a great experience.
Now take a moment to look at your site’s “hospitality”.
Chances are, there is nothing hospitable about it — not yet, anyway. Most hotel sites simply read as marketing brochures. Pretty dry stuff. Most hotel sites have yet to learn how to inhabit their site with life, helpfulness, and hospitality.
Consider how your site visitors feel:
- Some come with a specific question in mind, and they are wandering around trying to find the answer, hoping for a warm reception, or helpful answers.
- Some potential guests are hoping for some sense of the personality and welcoming spirit of your hotel.
- Some potential guests are interested in making a booking, if a specific point can be addressed in the process.
The list goes on, but you get the idea. Many of these visitors are potential guests. Why leave them lost and unwelcomed?
Start thinking of your site as your online reception desk.
To overcome this problem, visualize all the folks who are visiting as folks who seek your hospitality.
If you saw such folks waiting at your reception desk or wandering around your lobby, you’d help them.
So why aren’t you helping the folks who are loitering around your reservation system? What about those folks hovering over your booking button with uncertainty?
Time to actually be, you know: hospitable.
Why use chat?
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is some “extra” thing that is a waste of time. Do you accept phone bookings? Do you accept email bookings? Would you like to accept more bookings, rather than turn them away?
Right: you like bookings. So it’s time to stop turning people away. Watch how a chat feature helps people on your site.
“LiveChat leads bring in additional $65000 of business each month.”
— Nate Johnson, Marketing Manager at Plasticprinters.com
One of the most wonderful things about having a chat feature on your site is that it’s personable.
It provides a little bit of personality, and a smiling face or two to welcome a visitor to your website.
At first, a chat feature is probably closed, with just a tasteful image of a hotel rep floating in the bottom corner of the website, at the ready. This way, the feature isn’t distracting. It’s simply adding a pleasant presence to be explored as the visitor cares to.
When the visitor clicks or hovers, then the chat feature becomes apparent, with a simple means to type a question. This offers an outstanding means to start a conversation.
Don’t worry: you don’t need to be at the ready at all hours. You can certainly set things up so that your team (or ours) replies to chats in real time — but you have other options, so that you can message them later. We’ll explain those in a moment.
Consider welcoming visitors with a friendly “hello”, and offer to help them.
When someone is on a site, they are in a moment of uncertainty and indecision. The typical brochure site offers little welcome or guidance. Consider the relief when someone greets a visitor and offers help!
It’s nice to be greeted. It’s nice to know that someone cares. It’s especially nice to find what you’re looking for easily, and with personal charm. Isn’t that what hospitality is all about?
This step is generally automated, but you can infuse those initial messages with the personality of your hotel’s style. It offers a nice greeting, at the very least.
Recognize the tremendous opportunity for leads and follow-up.
If a site visitor replies to your friendly greeting and your offer to help — congrats! You may be in the process of making a new friend. Or you may simply be generating a new lead… and that’s pretty nice, too.
Here’s what I mean.
You’ve got a couple options:
- As one option, you can certainly reply to chats in real time, and that may be preferable for guiding visitors to book.
- As another option, you can offer to follow up later, automatically. This option prompts for contact info.
This step entails a large likelihood of generating leads, as someone is guided to receive your follow-up at a later time in the method of their choice.
You can prompt the visitor to provide their contact info:
- email address
- other contact info
This gets interested visitors into your funnel for later follow-up, and makes bookings much more likely.
Use chat in your website to welcome and help your potential guests
Give it a try! It’s immensely easy, and makes you much more welcoming to visitors.
Remember: your website is like the room just before your lobby. You can make it welcoming and helpful, or you can stand by and watch as potential guests wander off. So why not make your website welcoming with a friendly chat feature?
Of course, we’d love to help you find the best fit for your hotel, and to help you get set up.
We consult and partner with hotels all over the world to help them build their reputations and grow their bookings. Glad to help you too — just get in touch here.
Enjoy the new influx of bookings!