MALMO, SWEDEN—CityHub Hotels—a tech-driven hotel group offering accommodations in gateway cities—has partnered with Bookboost to deliver convenience and personalization to guests through messaging.
“CityHub has its own app that already has a chat feature, but it has proved to not cater to the needs and expectations of every customer,” said Daan de Bruijn, CEO/founder of Bookboost.
De Bruijn said that many guests prefer to use their own existing messaging platforms, rather than a completely new program.
Bookboost is a unified inbox that brings messages from multiple messaging platforms to a central location, so messages from Facebook Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp, SMS, Viber, etc., aggregate in one place where the hotel can respond.
“Hotel users can assign specific messages to the most relevant people or department, which is especially useful when reservations may be handled centrally but housekeeping and F&B are managed locally,” he said.
Even more, services available to guests via the front desk, website, app or phone can now be accessed with the direct messaging platform, helping to remove the response delays and slowed operations. This includes booking questions, concierge information and amenity requests.
“Using tech enables hotel staff to spend more quality time with guests,” de Bruijn said. “Technology should be helping hotels to cut out any recurring, non-value activities, like standard check-in procedures or providing information related to FAQs. When someone walks in the door, staff should have the time to have a decent quality chat with the guest; this in the first instance will enhance their experience.”
According to de Bruijn, hotels can also create preset message templates and set up response automation and create a series of marketing messages that can be sent to guests during their journey.
“This gives guests useful information, as well as the opportunity for hotels to promote other services and amenities in the hotel and offer special promotions that can be personalized to the guests’ specific interests,” he said. “Hotels can even take the guest data to segment guests into subgroups, so messages are relevant to business travelers, or families, or groups, etc. For lost guests, hotels can send map locations and even share links to points of interest while guests are out and about. We’re continually exploring more features and functions for the needs of digital and smart hotels to elevate the guest experience.”
Web chat is the first stage of messaging available to guests, where customers can ask questions with automated responses. The responses, however, can be personalized to match the hotel’s brand voice.
“We work with our customers to identify the immediate needs to service their guests and improve the stay experience,” de Bruijn said. “By working with innovative customers, they share their ideas where we work together to develop, improve and expand the functions of guest messaging and digital customer services. We also look at how we can better integrate and connect with other hotel management systems to be a seamless experience for both guests and the hotel alike.”
Bookboost’s system can connect to PMS to “extract customer data inclusive of phone number, name, nationality, number of travelers, etc., to help hotels to create guest profiles to deliver exceptional service,” he said. “Cityhub talks of Bookboost being the hotel online reception. We are currently in the process of expanding the number of connections we have and provide the option for other technologies to integrate with us.”