What is conversational marketing and why your property needs it now

RMS Cloud and Book Me Bob Chatbot for conversational marketing

Guest post by Tracey Patterson, Australian Market Manager at Book Me Bob.

According to Statista, 41 million messages are sent out every minute.

Have you noticed recently that your guests are trying to communicate with you through more and more channels? We used to only get phone calls and emails, but now we are being bombarded with messages on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and even our mobiles.

People love to message because it's fast, easy and feels like a conversation. It's not surprising that we receive messages from different platforms when it's been reported that 90% of consumers want to use messaging to communicate with businesses.

As an industry, we've been slow to pick up on this. Is your business still asking people to complete online forms to sign up for your newsletter? Your potential guests don't have time for this anymore. The stats explain why; the average email open rate has fallen to 20%, and the average landing page conversation rate is now reportedly only 2.35%.

If you still have an email sign up form on your website, you need to understand that this process has become cold, impersonal and way more painful to your potential guest than it needs to be.

Introducing conversational marketing

By definition, conversational marketing is the fastest way to move potential guests through your booking process, using the power of real-time conversations. It engages potential guests in dialogue-driven, personalised experiences at a one-on-one level. It enables properties to gain unique insights whilst building relationships and creating authentic guest experiences.

How do we engage with conversational marketing?

For most properties, the quickest and easiest way to give your potential guests a way to communicate with you when and how they want is to invest in a chatbot.

Now, I know that chatbots can be scary; some of the simple ones are awful to use, and we've all fallen victim to the live chat messages that say that someone will get back to you soon. Let's not even talk about futuristic AI that will take over the world and steal your jobs...

Times have changed, and artificial intelligence has rapidly evolved, to the point where some people think they are communicating with an actual human.

Still not convinced? Check out these stats:

  • 57% of consumers use chatbots for real-time responses (Hubspot, 2017)
  • 40% of consumers do not care whether they're helped by a human or chatbot (Hubspot, 2017)
  • 55% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if they could message them (LivePerson, 2019)
  • 95% of consumers believe customer service will majorly benefit from chatbots (Mindbrowser, 2017)
  • 90% of consumers are more likely to do business with companies that answer enquiries immediately (LivePerson, 2019)

Why your property needs conversational marketing now

Become market leaders
As conversational marketing is still in its infancy, early adopters become market leaders in the digital experience. Not only do early adopters stand to establish themselves as innovators in the industry, but also stand to raise the bar in guest experience and expectations.

Create a more human buying experience
With conversational marketing, your website becomes an interactive experience rather than a generic brochure. 

Maximise front office and reservations staff
Conversational marketing will take the pressure off your reservations and front office teams, allowing them the time to do what they do best – look after your guests.

Deliver a standardised brand message every time
If you have staff from different departments answering the same question, chances are there will be a myriad of different answers, causing disjointed guest communication. With a chatbot, you can ensure your team gives a consistent, branded answer to that question repeatedly.

Drive direct bookings
I recently read that 50% of people who find your property on Booking.com will visit your website, but only 10% of those website visitors will book directly with you. A quality AI chatbot adds an instore type of experience which helps drive direct bookings.

Increased conversion rates
Did you know that an AI chatbot can help you to maximise your return on investment? Simply put, talking to potential guests will keep them on your site longer, boosting your organic SEO and increasing conversion.

Improved customer satisfaction
Guest satisfaction, not just with their stay, but with the booking experience, is one of the major factors in determining referrals.

Powerful data
Conversational marketing allows you to learn more about your potential guests than ever before, as AI chatbots gather information about every conversation. In January 2021, Australian Book Me Bob (perhaps we should have called him Book Me Bruce) engaged in 42,943 online conversations. That's a lot of customer insight.

Conversational marketing is real, your potential guests like to use it, it increases direct bookings, delivers an exceptional guest experience whilst saving you money and eases the stress of your staff. A good industry AI chatbot costs about the same as a one-room night a month. It's time to listen to our guests and do what we can to meet their conversational needs.

Book Me Bob AI Chatbot – built by hoteliers for hoteliers.