Project: Thon Hotels

Showcasing valuable integrations for the hotel industry

Nikolai Toverud, business developer at Convertelligence, and Rune Bakken, enterprise architect at the Olav Thon Group.

Our biggest project so far is a front-page chatbot for Thon Hotels. The hotel chain wanted a chatbot to provide real-time solutions and answers for general hotel queries submitted by their guests.

“We decided on Convertelligence because the company has high expertise in the field and many exciting customer case studies and success stories. Convertelligence is also a Norwegian start-up and we found them easy to work with,” says Rune Bakken, enterprise architect for the Olav Thon Group.

Thon Hotels decided to launch a chatbot on their website in order to help guests with general inquiries. Their customer service received a lot of the same questions from guests. An online chatbot could save time and efforts by automating customer support. This would also provide customer support with more time to help guests with more challenging and complex questions.

The project group developed a chatbot which answers simple hotel-specific questions, but it was also programmed with more information from the website, thonhotels.no, to help guests find the correct information quickly.

Rune Bakken talked about Thon Hotels’ decision to launch a chatbot at the crash course we held in cooperation with Sopra Steria in June 2018.

Another advantage of having a chatbot was being able to provide customer service 24/7. The intention was not to create a chatbot that could answer all questions, but to help provide answers for general inquiries and the most frequently asked questions. The chatbot would also be updated continuously with new questions and new answers.

The project started with a field survey, where our copywriter Øyvind spent time with Thon Hotels’ customer service. He got to know their customers and how they worked. At the same time, our data scientist Petter performed a data analysis based on more than 90,000 e-mails that Thon Hotels previously had received from their hotel guests. This shaped the foundation for the actual content and inquiries the chatbot would be designed to answer.

In order to create a successful and comprehensive chatbot, a thorough research period was essential to ensure that the chatbot would meet customers’ demands. For the project to be a success, it was crucial that the employees working at Thon Hotels’ customer support team were hands-on as they had valuable input and knowledge of their company. They also contributed with quality control during the research period.

The front page of thonhotels.no.

The cooperation between Convertelligence and Thon Hotels was the key to the project’s success. The customer support team very much appreciated that we were able to get to know and understand the work Thon Hotels does for their customers. After launching the chatbot, customer support at Thon Hotels has experienced a significant reduction in phone calls and e-mails. They now have more time to handle complex queries and to provide even better customer experience. The chatbot communicates effectively and provides real-time solutions to queries.

Having the management team believing in the importance of technology was also a huge help for us throughout the project.

“Thon Hotels wants to be accessible and to be able to offer instant online customer support for our guests. Requests that were previously handled by phone or e-mail, can now be answered directly by our chatbot. We still have employees working in customer service, but our guests can receive real-time solutions to queries by using the chatbot on our website. Our customer support team receives fewer e-mails now, and a lot of our guests are using the chatbot from their mobile phones.” — Morten Thorvaldsen, Executive Vice President for Thon Hotels.

Because Thon Hotels was willing to invest in API integrations during the development stage, the chatbot was able to provide customers with valuable information and real-time services from day one. From the chatbot window, guests can search for available hotel rooms, retrieve their membership password and browse hotel and conference facilities. More exciting integrations are in the pipeline.

“Working with Thon Hotels has been really exciting. They’ve turned out to be an important supporter for new technologies, and this has resulted in the most comprehensive chatbot we’ve made so far,” says John Antonio Nilsen, CEO and co-founder of Convertelligence.