HiJiffy’s conversational AI at PortoBay automates 80% of guest queries, facilitates pre-check-ins, and increases direct bookings and cross-selling.
July 2020 – July 2023
in-stay campaigns open rate
This case study showcases the success PortoBay Hotels & Resorts had implementing HiJiffy’s Guest Communications Hub at 15 of their properties. Spanning across the entire guest journey, from answering common questions pre-booking, through the booking process, to the in-stay cross-selling and beyond, the brand observed fantastic results.
Based on the metrics and reports available in HiJiffy’s solution, as well as the client’s insights and staff testimonials, this publication explores how the guest communications challenges were turned into increased revenue and elevated guest satisfaction.
The Client: PortoBay Hotels & Resorts
The PortoBay Group entails 15 hotels in Portugal and Brazil, including seven properties on the island of Madeira – the place of its origins. The Group’s corporate philosophy is based on three principles: Product, Promotion and People.
With around 3,350 beds in the 4 and 5-star market segment, the hotels have different concepts, but all carry the guarantee of the quality of the PortoBay brand.
Having set a high bar for the quality of guest communications, as well as ambitious revenue and team management goals, PortoBay were looking for a hotel tech solution that would help them to complete the following challenges:
- Boost direct bookings
PortoBay were interested in opening other booking channels beyond the website environment, as well as introducing an automated guide to their portfolio, all in line with the effort to increase the reach as well as the ease of booking directly.
- Automate guest communications
The brand was looking for opportunities to automate various areas of guest communications, including processing in-house requests and booking other hotel services.
- Optimise check-in/out procedures
Both to improve the guest experience and reduce workload for the hotel staff, PortoBay wanted to automate promoting filling out pre-check-in forms and a smooth check-out.
It also mattered for the brand to collaborate with a solution that was specifically designed for hotels and a company that understands the hospitality industry.
PortoBay was one of the early adopters of HiJiffy’s technology. They reflect on the beginning of their journey with HiJiffy:
PortoBay: “We discovered HiJiffy’s solution in 2017, in a very early stage but with a lot of potential. At that time, chatbot technology in the hotel industry in Portugal was very little developed; nonetheless, we also saw in the HiJiffy team a desire to evolve the product and together develop a tailor-made solution.”
“Initially, we were immediately fascinated by the commercial approach and by the willingness to start the project. Since then, with the emergence of other solutions, we have been approached by some of them, however, we greatly value the path taken with HiJiffy, the close contact with the team, the excellent customer support and the flexibility that HiJiffy demonstrates in adapting the product to our reality.”
Placing trust in HiJiffy’s technology and confidence in being supported by the team, PortoBay rolled out the conversational AI across all 15 properties and eventually decided to activate the in-stay part of the solution (formerly known as Virtual Concierge, currently available in the Premium plan) for their 5-star hotels as a measure of differentiation and to provide elevated customer care.
Here’s a recap of the key applications of HiJiffy’s conversational AI across the entire guest journey at PortoBay hotels:
- Answering FAQs
- HiJiffy’s conversational AI specialised in over 200 hospitality-specific topics instantly replies to incoming queries 24/7, across various channels managed by the brand, including the web chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Google Business Profile.
- Booking assistance
- Guests are guided through the booking process by conversational AI integrated with the booking engine for a seamless experience.
- Sending pre-check-in campaigns
- An automated WhatsApp message to incoming guests, one day prior to their arrival, with a link to the online pre-check-in form encourages completing the process before arrival and making the check-in process faster.
- Cross-selling services
- During the stay, PortoBay sends a WhatsApp campaign showcasing bookable services such as restaurants and spa treatments, as well as emphasising the convenience of using that channel for any other requests.
- Sending check-out campaigns
- An automated reminder about the check-out time and instructions for making the process as smooth as possible.
Keen to explore HiJiffy’s latest developments in the solution, the brand was one of the first ones to implement AI-powered voice assistance on WhatsApp. This feature is communicated to the guests in various campaigns to open up even more convenient guest communications.
This round-up of the key achievements of using HiJiffy’s Guest Communications Hub is directly related to the challenges indicated in the earlier section. The results are supported by HiJiffy’s data (visible to the client in the dashboards and reports section of the solution), as well as PortoBay’s own data insights and observations they contributed to this case study.
Over 80% automation rate of 83K conversations
In the three years between the summers of 2020 and 2023, HiJiffy’s AI engaged in 83K conversations, resolving over 80% of them without the need for staff intervention, reaching a CSAT score of 82%. The majority of conversations took place on the web chat (55%) and WhatsApp (32%), with the rest taking place on Instagram, Facebook Messenger and Google My Business.
PortoBay also noted that reports available within the solution provided useful, actionable insights, such as which questions are asked the most frequently so that the team could adapt the website content and FAQ answers accordingly.
Increased cross-selling and 20% of pre-check-ins
In their 5-star hotels, PortoBay set up automated WhatsApp campaigns with open rates exceeding 82%. Different campaigns encourage filling in pre-check-in forms a day before the arrival, promote booking other hotel services, and share tips for a smooth and quick check-out. As a result of the effectiveness of the automated campaigns, the brand observed an increase in hotel restaurant and spa bookings and 20% of incoming guests filling out the pre-check-in form.
Improved teamwork and time-saving
PortoBay also noted that the solution directly contributed to improving workflows and collaboration between the teams, thanks to helpful features like a centralised omnichannel inbox, team notifications, or automated translations when replying to a guest in a foreign language. The solution users at PortoBay pointed out that high automation levels reduced the need for staff intervention in resolving guest queries, and having visibility of the guests’ interaction history helped in providing the most appropriate responses.
“From the first moment I met Tiago Araújo from HiJiffy, I felt an enormous enthusiasm and confidence in the people behind the project. The product that was presented in 2017 was completely innovative in the sector and PortoBay was an early adopter of this technology. One of HiJiffy’s most interesting skills was its great ability to listen to the customer and focus on bringing solutions. We feel that we co-created some of the solutions and that is the best thing we can have in a partnership.”
Fabíola Pereira, Chief Marketing Officer at PortoBay Hotels & Resorts
“The implementation of this solution has given the organisation the opportunity to be present on our guests’ daily path, since the channel usage is now very wide. HiJiffy is now a must-have tool for customer care and for driving new business opportunities.
In what concerns our team’s experience, we would like to highlight the following key points that have significantly enhanced our efficiency and effectiveness:
- Centralised Communication: HiJiffy’s ability to consolidate messages from multiple communication channels into a single inbox has been a game-changer. It simplifies our team’s workflow and ensures that no customer query goes unnoticed;
- Efficient Message Distribution: The platform’s seamless message distribution among different teams streamlines our response process. This not only ensures prompt resolutions but also enhances collaboration among our team members;
- Rapid Query Resolution: HiJiffy’s user-friendly interface and robust features make it easy to address customer inquiries swiftly and effectively;
- Informal Conversations: One standout feature of HiJiffy is its ability to promote less formal and more personalised conversations with our guests. This has led to more meaningful interactions and improved customer satisfaction.
- Translation Capabilities: The translation feature within HiJiffy helps our teams to be more secure when replying to a guest in a different language.”
Nuno da Costa, Head of Central Reservations at PortoBay Hotels & Resorts
“Working with PortoBay Hotels & Resorts has been instrumental in HiJiffy’s growth. As one of our initial clients, their invaluable feedback greatly impacted our product development. The vision that they have for guest experience is very aligned with the vision we have at HiJiffy. The open conversations we have online and in-person provide valuable insights for our Product team. We’re grateful for PortoBay’s trust and collaboration in enhancing guest communication experiences.”
Tiago Araújo, Co-founder & CEO at HiJiffy
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