Chances are that you have heard about a new artificial intelligence tool called ChatGPT. It was all over the news these last months. In this blog, we will give suggestions on how to use it, and give some insights into how it will impact search behavior and thus your digital hotel marketing efforts.
What is ChatGPT exactly?
If you missed the memo: it is basically a digital assistant you can ask anything you would like to get an instant, elaborate answer to. See it as a super fancy chatbot that has the whole of the internet in its back pocket. Well, as long as the information requested is not something that happened after September 2021. This is not possible yet, although behind-the-scenes work is being done on special plugins to make that possible. More on those later.
To say that this tool took the world by storm is an understatement. To illustrate the impact, let me show you the increase in search volume (how many people use a certain search term monthly on average) over the past period:
OHM’s advice: ChatGPT can help you and your front desk team by writing content to speed up tedious, time consuming tasks, such as answering guest’s emails, reviews and more. Thanks to its translation skills, you can use this tool to answer in the guest’s language, to make the experience more personal.
Changing the guest journey?
If getting instant answers is this easy, you can imagine that people might use ChatGPT in the earliest stages of their digital journey towards potentially booking with you. I mean, why would you still investigate different sources, finding specific information hidden in long texts, when you can have a tailor-made response at your fingertips in the blink of an eye?
For example, when prompting something like ‘give me a 3-day itinerary for a city trip to Amsterdam in May’, Chat GPT will provide you with a day-to-day suggestion list of what to visit. This information would traditionally be searched for on a search engine like Google and might mean that that tool would be used in a slightly later phase.
The newest update on this topic is that plugins are going to be available for ChatGPT, which currently include Expedia, Kayak, Trip.com and OpenTable. These plugins make it possible for the chatbot to use all of the information on these websites. This way, in a conversational manner, you can have personalised assistance booking a trip or a restaurant.
Place yourself in your guest’s shoes and think about what questions they might ask ChatGPT. Use the answers to those questions to find out how your hotel can play a part in that. Fine-tune your marketing efforts accordingly. For example, ask ‘what activities would you recommend in [insert city/region]?’. The outcomes will likely inspire the user, so you can take advantage promoting your hotel’s location near a certain activity, for example.
If applicable, check your profiles on Expedia, Kayak, Trip.com and OpenTable to see if all the information is correct, images are up to date and availability is in sync with your booking system. The more details are filled in (like up-to-date menus), the more information ChatGPT can work with and the higher the chances are that your business will be recommended.
The ChatGPT x Bing love story
OpenAI – the company behind ChatGPT – and Microsoft – the company behind the Bing search engine – have been partners since 2020. Fast forward to 2023 and this collaboration turns out to be very fruitful. Namely, a chatbot will be available when searching on Bing.com. This way, the power of ChatGPT and Bing are combined and it becomes possible to search recent information too.
After it was announced that ChatGPT was going to be added to Microsoft’s search engine, the number of active Bing users soon passed the 100 million per day mark. Furthermore, the number of Bing app downloads already surpassed last year’s totals. It is only March. Let that sink in.
Although Bing’s market share is still small compared to Google’s (3%-6% worldwide) it is gaining ground. The latest update on this is that page visits have increased by 16% since the introduction of Bing’s artificial intelligence-powered version.
This incredible growth in new users could be interesting for your hotel as well. While Bing is often overlooked when talking about brand visibility on the web, it has now entered the chat. It could well be the new preferred way of searching for your potential guest.
OHM’s advice: Check your company’s appearance in Bing, including your search results and Bing Places for Business listing(s). Also, consider investing in Microsoft Ads to increase awareness and direct bookings with the help of this platform.
Google strikes back (?)
Of course, it would not take long before Google’s countermove. Well, it still took 47 days to release an announcement. But hey, one does not simply create a chatbot overnight. The company has a long history with artificial intelligence and just had to react with a tool of its own that is able to compete with ChatGPT. As we speak, you can join the waitlist for Bard – as it is named. It is supposed to do the same and more, including having access to more recent data.
It will be interesting to see if Google can restore the status quo or if Bing is now a more serious threat in the long term. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that things have been shaken up.
To be continued…
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