In the digital age, travelers demand much more from their experience than ever before when it comes to researching, planning and booking their trips online.
There is a growing need for providers in the travel industry to modernize their businesses in order to stay ahead of the competition. One of the ways they can do this? Live chat.
The modern guest not only expects instant gratification in their personal life (with social media, WhatsApp and so on), but also with regards to customer service.
For some travelers, it’s almost unthinkable to pick up the phone and call another country when there is an easier, quicker way. Online live chat is a convenient and beneficial addition to your vacation rental website. It can help solve guest doubts easily in a timely manner, and even motivate them to make their booking!
Here are our top five reasons why, as a vacation rental owner, you need live chat on your website. Hint: it can really help boost rental bookings.
1. Live chat adds a human touch
For most travelers, accommodation is rarely bought as an impulse purchase. With vacation rentals especially, guests will spend time comparing different options, reading reviews and importantly, asking the owners anything they are unclear on before making their final decision.
Live chat facilitates real-time conversations with potential guests to resolve their doubts and answer their questions instantly. It gives you an opportunity to give your brand a voice and a human touch, without the need for expensive phone calls or lengthy email correspondence.
Research shows that, while making an online purchase, 83% of customers needed live support for assistance. By installing a live chat widget on your vacation rental website, you can assure you’re on hand as the friendly face when guests need you most.
2. It’s suitable for those on a budget
Live chat is rapidly becoming the solution for travel providers – not just for its convenience of being able to respond to inquiries near-immediately, but also because of its wallet-friendly price. As well as many online chat providers out there which only cost a few dollars per month, there is an increasing number of free tools available, such as Tawk.to.
When you don’t have to worry about high costs of returning international phone calls, you can focus 100% on your customer service and managing guest expectations.
3. You can engage guests easily with proactive live chat
Instead of waiting around for guest inquiries to come to you, by adding a chat widget on your website, you can prompt them to get in touch directly. The term “proactive live chat” refers to the way in which the tool proactively engages your website visitor or potential guest in a conversation.
This is different from reactive live chat, which the users initiate themselves by clicking an option to chat with an agent.
Proactive live chat can lead to almost four times higher engagement. This personalized targeting when a user is in a moment of doubt or consideration can help quickly provide the answers they need and, subsequently, help increase your bookings.
4. It encourages guests to follow through with the booking
Statistics show that 38% of consumers have made a purchase due to a good live chat session, and that live chat helps to decrease sales cart abandonment by up to 30%. These kinds of numbers can really give your bookings a boost with little effort.
When potential guests receive the answers to their burning questions quickly, they may be more inclined to make their reservation.
Additionally, you can use live chat for different purposes across the different pages of your site. For example, you can create one proactive message which reminds your website visitors of current promotions on your homepage, or another which provides information on special nightly rates on your rates and availability page.
Receiving these messages at the most relevant time (i.e. when they’re searching for information) can also influence their decision-making.
5. You’ll stay ahead of your competition
Check out some of your competitors’ websites – what do they have in common? Our prediction is they aren’t using live chat yet.
Only a handful of vacation rental owners are beginning to realize how the benefits of using technology such as live chat – leaving you at a huge advantage.
“While your compset’s reservation teams are still plugging away call-by-call and their front desk staff are slowly answering emails from the day before, your team can be nimble with live chat and interact with more than one traveler at a time, in real-time,” said Tambourine.
According to The Chat Shop, one leading hotel chain saw a 34% jump in sales after adding live chat. In addition, a whopping 42% of customers state that live chat is their preferred method of receiving support, and a further 63% said they’ll return to a website which offers live chat.
Getting your website up-to-date with live chat will help increase your chances of making a great first impression for guests.
You don’t have to be a tech wizard to install a live chat widget on your website. Any provider will be able to explain how to set it up very easily, and it will bring heaps of benefits in the long run. You’ll be able to increase guest satisfaction, confirm more bookings and stand out from the crowd. Which live chat application will you use on your site?
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