Why Hoteliers should be exploring Live Chat now!

By Petra Clayton

Guest Blog from Harry Fielder, Umi Digital

I am delighted to find myself here on the Custard Communications website! My name is Harry Fielder and I come to you from Umi Digital, a hotel digital marketing company based in London. We have known Custard for a number of years and I was thrilled to have been asked to share some tips with you all.

Why live chat will change websites for the better

There will come a point soon than no one will use that contact form on your website. Why you ask? It will be superseded by a far more dynamic, personal medium. Live chat. How do we know this? The Umi Digital team have been rolling out live chat across a range of websites (including our own) and tracking the conversions and activity. Here are three reasons why you really can’t and shouldn’t ignore it!

#1 Generate More Leads

Analytics throughout the Umi network has shown that live chat actually generates over ten times more engagements than through the more traditional contact form. We have actually seen one of our independent hotel clients clear over £10,000 of sales through live chat in just two months! Before adding the tool, they were struggling to get that number of sales through the contact form over an entire year.

So why might this be? Social studies have shown that our attention span and patience is ever decreasing, as such we require more and more instant gratification. We no longer plan ahead in the same way that we did before and are typically more governed by our impulses; services like Hotel Tonight are capitalising on this! Live chat also leverages itself on this paradigm by allowing us to find out all the information in real time rather than having to wait for enquiry emails to come back.

Live chat allows receptionist to jump in and convert the sale while the user is still in the impulsive mindset. Furthermore, most guests are familiar with the mechanics of Live chat anyway which further lowers the barriers to conversion. We use instant messaging apps on our smartphones and we are also familiar with desktop equivalents such as Facebook Messenger and Skype.

#2 Engage with insight

A key part of your sales approach should be to ensure the barriers to engagement are as low as possible. This has lead to contact forms on websites being very short and asking the bare minimum so as not to put off the guest. The result of this is the significant lack of insight when we pick up the phone to the guest – we don’t know anything about the guest and cannot tailor our sales approach.

Live chat provides an opportunity to use analytics to provide information to the sales person before they have even engaged them in conversation. For example just the prospect visiting the website we can determine the following:

  • What pages they previously visited and are currently reading
  • How many times they have visited
  • How many times they have viewed a particular page on your website
  • How long their visit time is
  • The exact location of their browsing session
  • Browser and device

On top of this, we can also ask the prospect to complete a pre-chat questionnaire to learn even more. The result of this is that we can create a highly personalised response to anything that they ask, right down to a comment on the weather in their current location!

#3 Express Your Personality

 Informal and chatty communication is a great way to show off your welcoming and friendly personality. When developing a lead, all sales people strive for more personal and rich communication. If we are emailing, we ask for a phone call;  if we’re on the phone we’ll ask for a meeting. This is even more evident in the hospitality sector where so many people are ‘people people’.  The logical reason behind is so that we can build rapport and develop trust in the relationship. Live chat facilitates this conversational interaction and allows us to use less formal language, shorter questions and event emojis! The dialogue is therefore more fluid and dynamic giving  your relationship with the customer will develop faster and at a more personal level than the less rich forms of communication.

Yes please!

Great! I don’t blame you. Here at Umi Digital we have partnered up with LiveChat Inc who deliver the worlds best Live Chat facilities. do give us a shout if you’d like a free trial. You can also set it up your self here:

Get your 30 day free trial