When booking a hotel room or table at a restaurant, many guests prefer to pick up the phone and speak to a person. This might be because their query is urgent, they have questions, they want immediate confirmation, or they just feel more comfortable using the phone than apps or online booking systems.
As hospitality companies launch more digital options, the phone is still a major source of reservations and therefore, revenue. But on average, 30% of phone calls to hotels and restaurants are missed. So how can hospitality companies recoup these lost revenue opportunities while still delivering a 5-star guest experience?
Barriers to booking appointments
Sometimes missed calls can’t be avoided; multiple people may call simultaneously to one phone line, or customers might call during a particularly busy time.
Missed calls present missed revenue opportunities. The primary job of restaurant staff isn’t to answer the phone, but they fulfill that role out of necessity if they aren’t busy serving customers.
Not all organizations with high call volume can have someone dedicated to answering the phone or the resources available to set up a call center, especially with rising labor costs and increased staff attrition to compete with.
Voice assistants offer a cost-effective way of creating scalable resources and delivering engaging customer interactions over the phone.
The opportunity for guest-led voice assistants
AI can help companies reach maximum occupancy by intelligently negotiating reservation times, configuring booking slots and seating arrangements to accommodate more guests, or automatically calling customers back when a time becomes available.
Promotions and upselling opportunities
Reservation calls can quickly become upselling opportunities by providing the latest promotions and offers, maximizing occupancy, and generating revenue during usually quieter periods.
Imagine this: You call to book a table for lunch, and the voice assistant mentions, “Kids eat free during the summer break.” It’s a win-win situation. Customers receive a great deal, and restaurants increase the likelihood of filling up their tables during traditionally slow periods.
Confidently handle dietary requirements
Talking over the phone can reassure customers with dietary requirements and allergies. Voice assistants can keep track of specific dietary requests and pick up on customer’s needs, even if they don’t follow a set script. For example, if a customer says they have dietary restrictions without specifying them, the voice assistant can prompt further questions to make sure the customer’s needs are met accurately.
This centralized function allows for consistent and accurate responses across all restaurants within a chain instead of individual restaurants trying to provide answers about allergy or dietary concerns.
Creating better guest experiences with conversational data
Every conversation is an opportunity to understand customer needs in greater detail, enhance service offerings, and identify peaks in call volume.
By surfacing trends such as periods of high demand and common requests across different geographies, hospitality companies can adapt their processes to serve guests better. This data-driven approach allows for proactive decision-making and catering to evolving customer preferences.
AI voice assistants are reshaping the reservation process by driving more business opportunities over the phone. From automating reservations to efficiently managing waiting lists and effortlessly incorporating promotions at a time when hiring and retaining staff is challenging, restaurants can thrive.
Using voice assistants enables businesses to transform their phone interactions into a revenue-generating team member, ensuring calls are never missed and customers aren’t unnecessarily turned away.