Imagine this: A hotel shopper is searching for accommodations in your city. The SERP (search engine results page) offers up your property as an option. So instead of heading directly to an OTA, where the consumer is most likely to visit because of the billions of dollars spent on PPC, they decide to see what experience you have to offer. Upon arrival on your website, the travel consumer is greeted with rich, engaging visuals in context, packaged pricing based on purchase history and profile attributes and then shown the quickest path to checkout. Voila – your valuable direct booking!
As innovations continue to evolve the hospitality industry, hotels are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to manage a variety of operational, marketing and revenue management functions. . Let’s zero in and review the advantages AI provides to the booking process specifically. Here are the top 5 benefits gained by using a booking engine with AI.
Boost Direct Bookings
According to research from Phocuswright and Google, 48 percent of U.S. smartphone users are comfortable researching, booking, and planning their vacation on a mobile device. A mobile-first booking engine enhanced with AI optimizes conversions by creating an intuitive hotel shopping experience, combined with the improved speed and responsiveness that today’s on-the-go consumer expects.
Hotels can see increases in direct bookings of 4 to 8 percent above the industry average due to actionable intelligence derived from AI analysis. An advanced booking system also compels action by creating a sense of urgency via features like strike-through pricing. Also, real-time customized abandonment messaging encourages potential customers to remain in the booking flow in order to get the best deal.
24/7 Chat Support
A major customer service challenge for hotels is providing timely responses to potential guests. With AI chat support integrated into the booking engine, you increase guest engagement and satisfaction because shoppers can ask questions and get real-time responses, 24/7. And while your AI-enhanced booking engine is interacting with guests, it’s collecting and analyzing valuable data that can be used later to up-sell the customer before and during the time of purchase. This information can create targeted marketing campaigns that inspire return visits.
The Power of Personalization
A personalized guest experience boosts revenue and loyalty. With an AI-powered system, hoteliers can optimize revenues through personalized pricing and customized offerings. For example, an analysis of a guest’s historical stay behavior may reveal preferences for a particular spa treatment or top-shelf bourbon. Insights like these enable hotels to customize the shopping experience to the individual. Customers feel special when their preferences are recognized, and hotels benefit by incorporating those choices as offerings within the booking flow, maximizing guest spend.
A booking engine enhanced with AI can efficiently parse information from multiple sources, providing your hotel with nuanced insight into local events impacting your hotel and region’s occupancy patterns. You can use this data-driven intelligence to optimize revenues by dynamically adjusting your rates and marketing efforts accordingly. Furthermore, the system can increase overall earnings by including room upgrade options and relevant up-sell opportunities during the checkout process.
Streamlined Booking Process
Many online shoppers choose to book through third-party sites because the OTAs have them convinced that the best rates are found there. An AI-driven booking engine by will show the consumer a convenient side-by-side comparison of your hotel rates vs. those of the OTAs, lessening the chance they’ll abandon the direct booking process.
AI is revolutionizing most industries, and it’s got hospitality in particular, buzzing. An AI-enhanced booking engine has the potential to transform your business – streamlining operations, boosting conversions, delivering superior customer service, and generating higher returns.