Want more bookings? Get chatty

Today, people are busier than ever and expect instant gratification in every aspect of their lives. From texting to Facebook messaging to Amazon Prime, speedy interaction is now the gold standard of modern business.

This is even more true when it comes to customer service. The days of patiently waiting on hold on a customer service phone call are long over.

Thankfully, there is something more immediate than a phone call (and those fun recorded prompts) and even more convenient than email. Today, online chat is universally loved by consumers for its ease and speedy real-time answers to questions standing in the way of a purchase.

Live chat on your website and hotel booking engine puts your hotel back in the driver’s seat.

Here are four ways your hotel can win by incorporating live online chat to your website experience:

1. Your customers will love the convenience

Face it. Modern consumers are multi-taskers. They often don’t have the time, nor the patience, to call and talk with your hotel operator or front desk agent about a possible stay at your property. Nor do they want to send an email and get an answer hours later. Live chat is a direct link to their here and now. Plus, it allows them to have an open dialogue with you from any device, whichever and wherever is most convenient for them. And, what travellers love, they reward with their loyalty. In a recent ATG Global Consumer Trend study, 63 percent of surveyed consumers said that they would likely return to a website that offered live chat.

2. Live chat provides a serious bump to your bookings

Smart customer service lead to more bookings. According to recent studies, 62 percent of customers are more likely to make an online purchase if live customer support is available. Many people who visit your hotel’s site will have questions. Instead of hoping the visitor will take the time to find the answer on your website or worse, allowing them to make their own assumptions, seize that moment of uncertainty and address it right away. By offering them instant answers and an open dialogue from the get go, you’re making them feel more confident in booking with you.

Most important of all, chat should also be available inside the booking environment. This is vital to reducing reservation abandonment. Statistics show that up to 95% of people searching for availability inside your booking engine will not buy (for a number of reasons). For a few dollars a month, chat can reduce this attrition and help monetise your most valuable prospects… the ones that are ready to buy!

3. Live chat is the perfect weapon to outshine your comp set

The hotel industry is fierce. There are dozens of options for travellers these days, so you need to utilise every advantage you can get. According to a study by U.S.

Wireless, customers prefer live chat over email, telephone, and social media.While your compset’s reservation teams are still plugging away call-by-call and their front desk staff are slowly answering emails from the day before, your team can be nimble with live chat and interact with more than one traveler at a time, in real-time.

4. Live chat will save your hotel money

Yes, that’s right. Saves money. Live chat software saves both your employee’s time and bottom line expenses. Your staff will spend less time on single-phone call interactions and can instead increase their efficiency by engaging and assisting more than one customer at a time. This also reduces your hotel’s need to hire more staff (or increase CRO outsource costs) to answer calls. But, most of all, by investing in live chat software, you’re lowering your average transaction cost.

Thankfully, implementing a live chat option on your hotel website and in your booking environment isn’t expensive. There are several live chat software to choose from, for any size of hotel you oversee. Plus, it will typically pay for itself fairly quickly with the increased bookings once your customers know it’s available.

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