Tech traveller: Hotel chatbots

Like a hotel with a personal touch? Move over simpering concierge, these days the little extras are often generated by efficient little chatbots

By Kate Russell
Published 15 Mar 2018, 16:00 GMT, Updated 14 Jul 2021, 10:36 BST
Tech traveller: Hotel chatbots
Photograph by Getty Images

Chatbots are becoming increasingly commonplace — before long, we'll spend more time talking to them than we do to our spouses. You might think I'm joking but that's an actual prediction by analytics firm Gartner. The hospitality industry has embraced artificial intelligence, with numerous hotels now deploying chatbots that act as a digital concierge; always online and ready to serve, no matter how demanding a guest might be.

Bebot is a company providing this service to hotels in Japan, with Holiday Inn the latest to sign up. Guests receive a registration code to access the bot, which provides everything from travel advice to sightseeing tips and restaurant recommendations. Bots interact using everyday language, so technophobes needn't fear robotic responses; it feels just like you're chatting to the front desk.

Gooster, meanwhile, is a service provider that enables hotels to self-brand the chatbot in a widget or run it through Facebook Messenger. Such is the number of hotel groups now using this technology, you'll probably find it offered the next time you make a reservation.

But if you prefer that human touch, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has recently deployed a digital concierge service that lets guests chat with hotel staff via Facebook Messenger, WeChat, KakaoTalk or SMS. The chain says 95% of messages are answered in under five minutes.


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Kate Russell is a technology reporter for @BBCClick and author of Working the Cloud

Follow @katerussell

Published in the April 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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