Luxury Hotel Makes Website a Five-Star Direct Revenue Channel

By Nick Aristou, executive director, Four Seasons in Limassol, Cyprus | April 12, 2012

The Four Seasons in Limassol, Cyprus has been open since 1993 and is independently owned and operated by Muskita Hotels Ltd. The Five Star deluxe property boasts 304 rooms, six restaurants, four bars, and extensive conference facilities. The Hotel is situated on its own sandy beach, which has been awarded with the Blue Flag (a symbol of cleanliness and safety awarded by the European Community) and is eight kilometers East of Limassol city center.
 
The hotel’s website is an important marketing tool that helps the property to attract and retain elite guests from all over the World. The objective was to increase its impact, make the hotel web page more user friendly, and convert as many site visitors into customers as possible by making it easy for them to complete bookings. It became obvious that the hotel’s online persona needed a business chat solution to provide prompt interaction 24/7 and supply prospects with accurate information.
 
The first step to discovering a solution was doing a thorough review of available products, including several market leaders. However, none matched the Four Seasons’ specific needs. The main limitations were the lack of multilingual support, patchy compatibility with tablet users and the absence of robust archival features. LiveWebAssist, a chat solution deployed on the site of IceWarp - a provider of business messaging solutions, was the first to meet all the Four Seasons’ requirements.
 
As a SaaS, the deployment of LiveWebAssist is painless. It takes just several minutes to open accounts on the LiveWebAssist website and define operators. Then the solution generates a short code that is imbedded into the site and it was ready to launch.
 
The IceWarp team helped do additional customization to make the window color scheme more in line with the Four Seasons’ website design and embedded pictures of its operators. To ensure that employees were comfortable using the new system, a mirror page of the hotel’s website was created before going live. Operators were taken through a number of mock scenarios, fine-tuning the workflow and the use of knowledgebase (pre-fabricated content insertable with just a few mouse clicks). This helped to avoid any major work disruptions once the system launched.
 
The Four Seasons also activated the LiveWebAssist Direct Chat Technology, a VIP connection that gives dedicated access to key IceWarp support personnel. This option makes it possible to reach the important contacts no matter where they are – at their desktop, off-site, or on the road.
 
From the very beginning, the Four Seasons’ customer service team was making the most of LiveWebAssist’s multilingual interface and knowledgebase support features to interact with customers in English, Greek, and Russian. The property’s sales and marketing team started to see the positive effects of LiveWebAssist almost immediately with a definite increase in bookings. Analysis showed that customers were making buying decisions, because they were given real-time explanations through the chat service.
 
The Four Seasons technology team also likes LiveWebAssist’s capability to recognize returning website visitors. This feature helps an operator to resume a conversation from the same spot where it was ended or interrupted. That makes users spend, on average, seven to eight minutes on the site, a very high indicator.
 
In an approach radically different form other chat products, LiveWebAsisst supports the InLine no-flash chat architecture, eliminating pop-up windows. This design allows more visitors to initiate chat sessions, because they don’t have to deal with popup blockers. It also assures usability for visitors using tablets like iPad or Android to access the site. Additionally, this option gives actionable information about the visitors’ behavior. The operators can tell exactly where the user is on the site, so they can offer them immediate assistance, tell them where to go and answer questions with a high degree of relevancy.
 
Predicting sales patterns
LiveWebAssist’s analytical capabilities helped the hotel to optimize its Internet marketing strategy. The property’s marketing analysts are now able to locate sources the customers are coming from and what browser they are using. It’s a very effective tool, especially when used in conjunction with Google analytics.
The Four Seasons’ team found is the LiveWebAssist Knowledgebase a very practical tool to employ. At any point of the conversation, it allows operators to insert pre-approved messages (such as terms and conditions, cancellation policy, etc.). Operators don’t have to think about how to phrase these messages and URLs and graphics are added with a single click. In the near future, the Four Seasons is planning to extend the knowledgebase with images and, possibly, videos.
 
Four Seasons is now expanding the LiveWebAssist functionality and considering using it on mobile devices.  Another possibility is adding automated translation and integration with a new CRM system.
 
Immediate returns
LiveWebAssist was showing compelling ROI from the day it was implemented. The number of bookings that have been converted directly through LiveWebAssist, paid for the solution almost immediately.
 
Usually, hotel bookings for five+ star hotels are a very high-value item -- usually $5,000-6,000 per transaction. There are many issues that potential customers should understand before they actually commit to book. Anything that can give a customer greater confidence and prompt him to make a decision to buy is very valuable. LiveWebAssist provides that for the Four Seasons.

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