We obviously talk a lot about automated suggestions for review replies, because that is what we do. From some general managers, guest relationship managers, or front office managers we hear back that they do not want to use an AI Review Reply Assistant because they were answering guest reviews personally and that they take great pride in their individually crafted review responses. Let’s be clear: We think this is a good thing to do and we do not intend to change this. This article illustrates why we, too, believe that people should be involved in responding to guest feedback - and why most of the people mentioned above end up using our assistant: An AI assistant and hyper-personalized responses to reviews are not a contradiction, but rather complements.
You have to stay in touch!
Ultimately, being there for guests, listening to them, and addressing their concerns is THE defining factor of a hotel professional. We would have more full self-service hotels if this was different from a customer’s point of view. As a professional, you learn something about their needs and how you can offer them the best possible stay at your property with every touchpoint and every interaction. It is no different with answering guest feedback. It should not only be about your online reputation, but also about delivering a personal experience even after a guest’s stay. Plus, taking the time to engage with and answer your guests' reviews is a very efficient way of staying in touch with them and their needs and to learn how to get even better. A positive side effect, of course, is that answering reviews is something other future guests will see and appreciate. That is why it even pays off financially.
The same way it would be hard to know what’s on your guests’ minds if only a robot would talk to them at the front desk, you have to be exposed to your hotel’s reviews to understand the nuances of guest feedback. If you were to follow a completely hands-off approach to reacting to your guest reviews, you would obviously lose touch very fast. It needs direct contact with each feedback to ingest and process it and eventually improve things and keep the good things. Letting a machine answer your reviews without you seeing the feedback (and the answer) you may lose out on important information that could help improve your business. Bad idea!
Therefore, MARA is designed in such a way that the answers suggested by our algorithm must be checked by our users. Even though we provide unique, hyper-individual responses to every individual guest review that can be published as they are in most cases. We truly believe that being in personal touch with guest feedback is important.
The ideal world, that we are working towards, looks that way: We save our users a ton of time as they do not have to craft individual answers from scratch every time and you still learn a lot about your guests because you are exposed to their feedback in a very digestible manner when you check the review summary and response in our app.
The machine will help you craft individual, appreciative answers
We know that to many it sounds too good to be true until they see MARA in action: Our AI writes personal, hyper-individualized answers to reviews in seconds. And while we believe that you should be in control of the answers you send (see above) we do not believe that you necessarily need to do the hard work of crafting these answers from scratch every time. MARA is meant to support you to come up with more creative, non-template review replies that appreciate the customer for giving you the feedback in less time.
Non-technically speaking, the main reason why MARA can come up with those very individual, appreciative replies is that MARA is able to “comprehend” the original review in the first place. We do not just detect keywords (like “friendly check-in” and then have some template sentences fitting these keywords. We try to extract the meaning no matter what the reviewer is writing about and then react to the specific content of the review.
Let MARA make answering reviews feel like a walk in the park
We wanted to make two points: a) we share the view of many that a business needs to have personal contact with reviewers to not lose contact with customer needs but that b) you do not necessarily need to do the actual writing of the answer yourself to stay in contact. It is not at all a crime to let the machine do the hard work of crafting a first draft (often a final version) of an individual reply. Quite the opposite. If we can make our lives easier by technology at a reasonable price why wouldn’t we do that?
The best way to actually see the magic happen, is to test our tool with your own reviews. Registration takes less than a minute (no credit card, no setup needed) and you get 20 answers for free. In about 2 minutes, you will know what we are talking about. Happy testing!
This article is part of our hero content “The Future of Hospitality Industry: Integrating AI into Hotels and Restaurants".