The post app world means people do not want to have an app for each and every thing they do on their phone, sometimes it’s easier to open the browser, and sometimes, and this is how Facebook would like you to do it, it’s easier to ask a bot or a service right from within the Facebook app itself.
900 Million people are on Messenger*
With 900 Million people on Facebook it seems rather likely that Facebook Messenger is poised to take a commanding part in daily communications between property and guest.
Getting a new technology into the hands of a guest and having them use it is can be difficult and questionable if you want to do it. In an industry ruled by face to face interactions and a tremendous sense of service, is sending your guests to an external messaging system really the best solution?
Obviously this will depend on the demographic of your property; one with a predominately middle aged affluent traveler may find the idea of getting answers to their questions via a messaging app absolutely appalling, as well as confusing and overly complicated.
But, enter the tech-savy, quick with their fingers generation and you may have a winning combination. These are the people that can tap out an essay on their iPhone quicker than some individuals can find the button for their floor in an elevator. The idea of finding out if your property has a pool, and what time the lobby lounge closes at, all with the clack of their fingers – is not only appealing to them, but it’s easy too.
This type of interaction is quick, efficient and constant, if a guest asks a bot a question it does not have an answer to, the bot can say something like “Hold on while I find out for you.” – moments later a real human, from your property can speak directly with the guest via Messenger. Bot when it’s something easy, human when the request gets a bit more complicated.
There are benefits not only for the guest but the property as well. A properly build and well defined bot could answer a great many questions about your property, from general FAQ such as what time the pool closes, to more complicated questions like directions from the airport, with links, and maps, and pictures. There’s no way a phone call can instantly give me a map in the palm of my hand.
This process can also reduce the time front desk and guest services spend answering questions that are clearly posted on the properties website and the printed materials in rooms, because who looks there anymore?!
It may seem impersonal to have a guest message a bot for answers but, that is the world we live in, this is clear by the dwindling number phone calls we make and the ever increasing number of messages we send daily. Services such as Slack have taken the place of email, where email once replaced phone calls.
If you’re serious about offering platforms for continued communication between your property and your guest Facebook Messenger may not be something you can overlook.
Only time will tell, but the Hyatt thinks that time is now.
What impact do you think Facebook Messenger will have on the hospitality landscape? Will it drive more space between the property and their guests or bring them closer together?
*Facebook – https://messengerplatform.fb.com/