Personal concierge features have the added benefit of furthering customer engagement and fostering loyalty for further bookings. This may culminate in becoming a crucial tactic for third-party apps to leverage as they strive to maintain connections with customers and prevent them from hopping from one competitor to another.
However, if personal concierge services become too saturated, users will ultimately be the deciding factor on which grab most of the lion’s share and which fall to the wayside.
HotelTonight just launched its newest product, Aces, which is an in-app chat feature connecting users with a personal travel concierge. The concierges, collectively referred to as “Aces”, are available 24-7 during your booking to do things like make a restaurant reservation for dinner, or get extra towels sent up to your room.
If a customer has access to Aces (the product is being slowly rolled out to users in DC, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and San Francisco) the option to chat will show up on the bookings page starting on the morning of your hotel stay.
How Aces Actually Work
For recommendation requests, HotelTonight says that Aces work in tandem with local insiders like food bloggers and tastemakers who have a deep knowledge of their respective cities. This may change as Aces expands to thousands of cities, but for now it seems that the advice is pretty hand-curated. The service also uses online advice websites and other HT employees to supplement these recommendations.
For hotel requests like a wakeup call or room service, the current method is for the Ace to call the hotel you are staying at. HotelTonight hinted in the future that some automation could be taking place, as it seems pretty simple to interpret keywords like “bring me towels” and automatically send a request to the hotel.
The chat function also offers pre-written suggestions like “can I get my room cleaned” or “where is the best place to go out tonight” which could make it even easier to automate in the future.
Beta-testing is set to launch this week. HotelTonight is adopting an approach that’s closer to the one long-championed by online travel agencies (OTAs). It reminds me of RatesToGo.com business model change…
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