hijiffy_feyzanur
March 18, 2024

Best guest communications software for hotels in 2024: Specialised VS generic solutions

Find the best one for the hospitality industry

In a technological landscape, there are many solutions to choose from. Considering the vast number of options available, making a decision can quickly get overwhelming.

In this article, we take a close analytical look at five providers – Zendesk, Salesforce, Intercom, Drift and HiJiffy – taking into consideration their functionalities, integrations and pricing to see which one would be right for your priorities.

The first step should be clearly identifying your needs

As a decision-maker it is important to first define what needs and goals you want to meet. It is a good idea to consider what your guest communications requirements are for your hotel before reading this article. What should the platform you want to use be able to do? Should it be specialised in the hotel industry, or is one offering general management is enough for you at this time? 

Top providers in comparison

We look at the solutions from Zendesk, Salesforce, Intercom, Drift in comparison to HiJiffy’s Guest Communications Hub. Before zooming in on individual categories, let’s first see what kind of solutions the companies provide.

Zendesk offers a wide variety of customer support tools and services, including ticketing, chat and self-service portals, to help companies interact with their customers.

Salesforce provides CRM solutions that support companies in managing customer relationships, optimising sales processes and automating marketing activities.

Intercom provides messaging and customer engagement software across numerous channels for companies to communicate with their customers and offer personalised support.

Drift specialises in conversational marketing and sales and offers a platform for companies to interact with potential customers in real-time using chatbots and live chats.

HiJiffy specialises in the hospitality industry and offers a guest communications platform powered by conversational AI, which enables hotels to communicate effectively with their guests and offer a personalised service.

Let’s take a look at the categories crucial for optimising guest communications.

  • Size and popularity
    • How big is the company, and how well-known is it in the sector?
  • Essential functions
    • What basic core functions does the solution offer?
  • Integrations
    • How open is the solution to being integrated with other programmes that your hotel already uses?
  • Supported channels
    • How many communications channels does the solution support?
  • Prices and number of users
    • Which plans and prices does the solution offer, and how are they calculated?
  • Generative AI for the hotel sector
    • To what extent is AI used in the solution, and is it specialised for the hotel industry? Does it have to be configured manually, or is there no industry specialisation?
  • Customisation options
    • Can the solution be customised to suit your hotel, your communications and your requirements?
  • Customer support
    • Does the solution provider promise the availability of the customer support team?
  • Multi-property support
    • Can the software be used for several hotels?
  • Languages
    • How many languages does the solution have available for guests?
  • Voice
    • Does the solution support voice assistants?

Blog post — product comparison 2 best guest communications software for hotels in 2024: specialised vs generic solutions

Size and popularity: What is the industry using?

The number of customers is a significant indicator of the popularity and dissemination of a platform. Only a few companies share this information, but there we can see trends.

Zendesk is one of the oldest cloud-based platforms for customer service, but it provides tools for various industry sectors, from healthcare to retail, for over 160,000 customers.

Salesforce is a leading company in the CRM sector and dominates the market with approx. 23% share. It has an impressive size and range, as illustrated by its 79,390 employees and its turnover in 2023. However, only 3.4% of Salesforce users work in the hotel industry.

Intercom has established itself as an influential platform for customer communications, especially among start-ups, and by 2023 had recorded over 25,000 customers. The company has a significant presence in various industries, including software, IT services and the Internet.

Drift’s specific customer figures and financial details are less publicly available. However, we know that Drift has established itself as an important player in the field of conversational marketing and offers personalised chat experiences for generating leads and retaining customers. Recently Drift was acquired by Salesloft.

HiJiffy sets itself apart from these providers as it specifically focuses on the hospitality industry and has become increasingly popular in recent years. Over 1,800 hotels work with our Guest Communications Hub. In particular, HiJiffy focuses exclusively on the needs and challenges of this industry by utilising conversational AI to improve communication with hotel guests. With tailored solutions to optimise customer service and increase direct bookings, HiJiffy is positioning itself in a category of its own which is far removed from the broad market presence and cross-industry approach of other platforms.

Essential functions: What are the solution’s strengths?

Zendesk‘s products are divided into two different solutions, customer service and sales. Its main customer service functions are messaging, AI and automation, and the help centre. Messaging with generative AI offers 24/7 support, with the most frequently asked questions being answered by a bot. The help centre reduces support costs and ticket volumes.

Salesforce offers various cloud solutions, including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and more. Some of Salesforce’s functions include contact and account management, also known as customer relationship management (CRM), which ensures access to customer data and interaction history. The Cloud solution is also a good way to exchange information within the team, share specific campaigns or determine customer satisfaction. The range of functions differs depending on the industry.

Intercom offers a helpdesk, AI chatbot and proactive support. The helpdesk combines your inbox, tickets and the help centre in one place. The AI chatbot supports the team with accurate responses and transfers to real employees if necessary. Proactive support can be used to interact with customers who are currently using a channel, i.e. targeted messaging and email campaigns. However, the chatbot involves additional costs.

The Drift platform’s core functions include live chat, chatbots, email marketing and meeting planning. With Drift, you can communicate with website visitors in real-time, seamlessly automate conversations with chatbots, capture leads and book meetings.

HiJiffy is known for its hotel chatbot for guest communications that can be personalised and the Console that serves as a digital concierge. The chatbot answers 9 out of 10 guest enquiries automatically without human assistance while maintaining the on-brand tone of voice of your hotel. It can also be integrated into social media and any other channels. The Guest Communications Hub offers personalised campaigns, dashboards, valuable reports, and even allows you to export contacts. In addition, HiJiffy’s features, including its unified inbox, omnichannel support, automation capabilities and upselling & cross-selling opportunities, underline the comprehensive approach to improving guest communications and guest management for hotels.

Other functions:

Pre-stay (before the stay):

  • Answers to all FAQs
  • Bookings management for direct bookings via the chatbot

 In-stay (during the stay and departure)

  • Digital check-ins and check-outs
  • Central console for communication between hotel staff
  • In-house enquiries via the chat widget
  • Personalised upselling and cross-selling campaigns
  • Requesting feedback and sending satisfaction surveys

Integration: Can your other systems be integrated?

There are 1,503 integrations available on the Zendesk Marketplace. These cover a wide range of categories, including CRM, e-commerce, marketing, project management, social media, ticketing and more.

Salesforce offers a variety of integration options and tools for connecting to external systems and exchanging data. The exact number of integrations may vary as Salesforce is an open platform that allows organisations to develop customised integrations to meet specific requirements.

Intercom can be linked to over 350 powerful apps and integrations that allow you to tailor this platform to your business. The most popular and most frequently used integrations are Google Analytics, Salesforce, Stripe and Jira Cloud.

Drift includes over 150 native integrations with marketing, sales and CRM tools such as Salesforce, Hubspot, or Marketo. It works seamlessly with existing marketing and sales tools and is easy to implement without disrupting business processes.

With HiJiffy’s solution, you will easily find integrations that hotels often use. HiJiffy offers over 80 integrations with several hotel systems, including booking systems, property management systems, maintenance management systems, marketing platforms, CRMs, payment and financing gateways and service automation tools. These integrations enable a seamless flow of data and functionality between systems. This increases efficiency and enables you to monitor business performance, which, in turn, improves hotel management’s decision-making. HiJiffy’s solutions include both API and tailored integrations for customers. You can browse available integrations with hotel management systems.

Support from other channels: Is it an omni-channel solution?

In this category, the following table shows which solution can integrate with which channels. This does not mean it is included in all packages, but it is possible.

ZendeskSalesforceIntercomDriftHiJiffy
Website chat
E-Mail
SMS
Whatsapp💰
Facebook Messenger💰
Instagram💰
Google Business💰
WeChat
LINE💰
Telegram💰
X (formerly Twitter)💰

💰External subscription with Octopods

Prices and number of users: Which plan fits your budget and requirements?

Prices at Zendesk are divided into customer service and sales and range from €19 to €115 per employee/month. The smallest package contains only basics and no AI. Using Zendesk allows companies to set up employees as agents and departments, with the number of users and structuring options depending on the subscription plan.

With Salesforce, you might feel overwhelmed by all the different packages. Most of its packages start at €25 per employee/month, but you have to take a close look at the features, as a distinction is made between sales, marketing, service, etc. The Marketing Cloud for Engagement is available from $1,250 per month (up to 10,000 contacts), but can only include email marketing, content creation and integration with the Sales Cloud. If you want to use messaging and the Einstein AI, you have to look at the more expensive packages, which start from €4,200.

Intercom offers various pricing models tailored to the needs of companies of all sizes. The main price plans start at $39 per employee/month for the Essential plan, $99 per place per month for the Advanced plan and $139 per place per month for the Expert plan. With Intercom, each tariff includes at least 1 place without a maximum limit on the number of places.

Drift offers 3 different packages, with only one of the packages having a monthly price tag of €2,500. Interested parties can find out about the other package prices in a personal chat. There is no indication of the limits or price per user.

The HiJiffy offers are different to all the others. As the Guest Communications Hub has been created especially for hotels, the fixed monthly price depends on the number of rooms in your hotel rather than per employee. There is a progressive discount which depends on the number of rooms. The premium package includes all possible features, and no add-ons are required to unlock anything. There are also no restrictions for users. This means that our Guest Communications Hub can also be used across several hotel properties. There is a setup fee for every five properties. Even the Basic package gives you access to the brand’s proprietary conversational AI.

The following prices are assumed for a team of five employees:

ZendeskSalesforceIntercomDriftHiJiffy
💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰
From €275 to €575 From €125 to €2,500 (Sales package)
From €1,250 (Marketing Cloud)
From $195 to $659From $2,500From €99 to €319 

Blog post — product comparison best guest communications software for hotels in 2024: specialised vs generic solutions

Generative AI for the hotel industry: How smart is the AI?

Zendesk has integrated generative AI features into its offering to free up internal teams from repetitive requests. The AI’s capabilities include generative responses to customer enquiries as well as summarising calls and rewriting content.

Salesforce includes AI for automation in all industry sectors, but the specific generative AI capabilities can be limited. The Einstein Solution must be added to the price and is not specialised or pre-trained for the hotel industry. However, AI can be integrated into various processes such as sales, customer service, marketing, etc. and can, for example, personalise emails, generate responses and create user-specific content.

Intercom‘s AI chatbot promises to answer 50% of questions immediately using Natural Language Conversations but charges a fee of €0.99 per question answered.

Drift uses AI and machine learning to understand customers’ intentions, have meaningful conversations with them and recommend the best answers. This technology enables personalised conversations that are tailored to the individual needs and interests of each lead.

With HiJiffy, you get AI specialised in the hotel industry in the basic package, which aims to revolutionise guest communications. Using advanced technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), HiJiffy’s AI can automatically process enquiries, manage direct bookings and support guests throughout their stay. With over 200 FAQ topics specifically tailored to the hotel industry, your chatbot is perfectly trained. HiJiffy’s conversational AI answers 85% of guest questions – an impressive figure, which is based on our expertise and a database with industry-specific information.

Customisation options for communication: What can you personalise?

Zendesk enables customers to fully customise their help centre with various templates. You can customise the design of the solution to your brand and implement rules for automated responses and workflows.

Salesforce also offers the personalisation option, namely of dashboards, reports and user interfaces for improved productivity. Users can customise sales, marketing and service processes, including workflows and email templates. It offers the option of creating customised fields and objects to meet specific data requirements.

Intercom allows communications with customers to be tailored thanks to customisable messaging options. Users can configure chatbots to provide automated responses and assistance and segment target groups for specific messaging campaigns. The platform supports the creation of individual message templates and automated workflows to optimise customer interaction. The design of the Intercom Chatbot is free of restrictions and can be customised to fit in with your brand.

With Drift, users can develop targeted conversation strategies to convert leads more effectively. The platform supports the creation of customised welcome messages and qualifying questions to target visitors on the website. As with most of these solutions, the design of the chatbot can also be customised here.

HiJiffy enriches the guest experience in the hotel industry with extensive bespoke options. With automated self-check-in and check-out, customised to the hotel’s branding, HiJiffy enables a smooth and efficient process for guests. The platform can develop personalised communication strategies via preferred channels, it enables customised upselling and cross-selling offers based on individual guest profiles and collects valuable feedback for continuous improvement. Not only this, integration into the property management system (PMS) promotes seamless management and use of guest data to further personalise the service. HiJiffy also offers the option of customising the chatbot widget to perfectly match the appearance of the hotel website. Colours, logo, name and tone of voice can be individually designed to ensure that the chatbot authentically represents the brand and communicates with guests in the desired way.

Customer support: What is the availability like?

You’ll find there is support for each of the solutions, but to what extent and how good is it?

With Zendesk, digital support, access to the help centre, additional resources and training are available with every package. If you want round-the-clock support or user-specific help, you can get this with an add-on.

Salesforce’s included support entails a response time of 2 days and access to the support community. Additional support is available from Salesforce for an extra charge.

In addition to the help centre, Intercom offers you experts who take care of installing the product, implementing the data and other configurations, but the scope of support can vary depending on the plan selected. There are also support teams in the various plans that offer help within 1 hour.

Drift also offers help via email, live chat, community and a help centre (depending on the plan).

HiJiffy has been recognised for its outstanding customer service and was awarded certification for Level II and, subsequently, Level III Customer Support by Hotel Tech Report in 2023. These achievements emphasise the company’s commitment to providing outstanding service and innovation in the field of hotel technology. The verified systems and processes include an online knowledge base, online training videos, in-app guided tours, tooltips, implementation documentation, multilingual support, live chat support and customer care software.

Multi-Property: managing several hotel properties

ZendeskSalesforceIntercomDriftHiJiffy

This attribute is unique to HiJiffy, as both the hotel chatbot and the digital concierge are not charged and deployed per employee or team, but can be used across multiple hotels. Take a look here at how PortoBay Hotels & Resorts or Kora Living manage multiple properties with our solution. This saves costs and allows you to generate as much revenue as possible from any number of hotel properties, send personalised campaigns or answer specific questions for each hotel. This means you can sit back, relax and give your full attention to the more important tasks.

Languages: 你好

ZendeskSalesforceIntercomDriftHiJiffy
2017454130

Zendesk‘s chatbot supports more than 20 languages, Salesforce offers support for over 17 languages for its Einstein bots, and Intercom‘s AI chatbot is available in 45 languages.

No specific number of supported languages for the chatbot is available for Drift. The available information mainly relates to language support for emails in English, German, Spanish and French.

HiJiffy’s chatbot can reply in more than 130 languages. This dedicated language support makes it possible to reach and serve a wide range of users worldwide. You don’t have to worry, as guests from all over the world feel they are in good hands.

Voice: does the solution also include a voice assistant?

Zendesk defines voice as a support agent that can be operated through an embedded call button. It allows customers to call someone directly from their app or browser.

Salesforce offers the Cloud Voice service, which listens in on a customer call and suggests courses of action to help the agent. Einstein Voice also works in a similar way with suggestions for products, responding to voice prompts.

Intercom and Drift do not offer voice services.

HiJiffy developed the very first voice assistant specialised in the hotel industry. This means that guests can not only write to the chatbot, but they can also send voice messages. It is able to answer guests immediately in full sentences and thus offers an almost human interaction experience. The HiJiffy voice bot is based on state-of-the-art technologies such as automatic speech recognition (ASR), which translates spoken language into written form, and natural language understanding (NLU), which allows the guests’ intentions to be understood and interpreted.

Special needs of hotels require a special solution

Here we have presented five powerful solutions that can deliver impressive results when used correctly. Our analysis of various providers shows that while Zendesk, Salesforce, Intercom and Drift offer a wide range of solutions for different industry sectors, HiJiffy stands out due to its specific focus on the hotel industry. HiJiffy understands the unique challenges of the sector and offers customised features designed to optimise communication between hotels and their guests.

In addition, HiJiffy offers options for comprehensive integration with other hotel systems, enabling seamless communication and data flow between different platforms.

You can book a personalised demo to see how HiJiffy can help you achieve your goals with their hotel chatbot and/or digital concierge. Whether you want to increase sales, implement automation for your team or create an unforgettable experience for your guests.

Other resources

Zendesk

  • www.zendesk.com
  • support.zendesk.com
  • www.gorgias.com/blog/zendesk-features
  • support.zendesk.com/hc/de/articles/4408824097050-Zendesk-Kan%C3%A4le
  • support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/4408832257562-Advanced-customization-of-Web-Widget-Classic
  • marketsplash.com/zendesk-statistics/

Salesforce

  • www.salesforce.com
  • trailhead.salesforce.com/content/learn/modules/salesforce-messaging/engage-customers-using-channels
  • www.trujay.com/blog/salesforce-features-and-benefits-you-should-know-about
  • rikkeisoft.com/blog/features-of-salesforce/

Intercom

  • www.intercom.com
  • www.trustradius.com/products/intercom/reviews?qs=pros-and-cons#overview
  • startupgeek.com/blog/intercom-stats/
  • www.intercom.com/help/en/articles/591233-intercom-features-explained
  • www.intercom.com/help/en/articles/233-choose-the-right-channel-for-your-message
  • octopods.io/pricing

Drift

  • www.drift.com/blog/targeted-messages/
  • www.drift.com/platform/
  • www.drift.com/platform/conversational-ai/
  • www3.technologyevaluation.com/solutions/53802/drift
hijiffy_feyzanur
Senior Marketing Executive DACH

Latest Articles

AI Text Refinement

AI Text Refinement

Adapt and improve your messages with AI to save time
Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment Analysis

Uncovering guest emotions when evaluating feedback.

Want to receive exclusive insights about Hotel Management?

Join our list and receive the best articles every month.

Newsletter