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Picture of mobile phone with Webio Conversational Middleware Hotel Booking Bot for the Kingsley Hotel shown on the screen.

Meet 'Dorothy' Ireland's First Hotel Booking Bot Powered by Webio

Developed in partnership with Webio, Granite Digital and Avvio, Fota Collection has launched its ground-breaking conversational messaging hotel booking bot that lets customers find, book, pay and even start planning their hotel stay.

In a world where customers are ever more at ease and comfortable with communicating through Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, this new Fota Collection booking facility allows customers to start and finish their entire booking process though a customised conversational chatbot.

Nicknamed 'Dorothy' as a tribute to Dorothy Bell, the last member of the Smith-Barry family who originally owned Fota Island, the booking chatbot will initially be available through Facebook Messenger but can be easily configured to deploy on any channel and will work across multiple functions of the business e.g. from golf tee times to booking spa treatments to making a restaurant reservation. From checking room availability, selecting and reserving rooms right through to payment, the booking bot will be fully integrated across Fota Collection's systems allowing it to be embedded into existing business processes.

Webio, Avvio and Granite Digital bringing AI driven conversations to the hotel industry

This conversational booking bot is built on top of Allora- Avvio's next generation hotel booking engine which manages online guest conversations and facilitate bookings using conversational booking bots which are powered by Webio.

Webio develops chatbots that use AI to work independently or alongside agents assisting them in making quick, decisive, outcomes based on customer responses. "Our conversational middleware platform uses the power of artificial intelligence to streamline customer engagement across new and existing channels (incl. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, Viber, Telegram etc.) and we have previously created chatbots for many other industries, so while it was challenging, it was also satisfying to adapt this innovative tech for the hotel industry." says Cormac O'Neill, CEO of Webio.

Commenting on this first of its kind offering Seamus White of Granite Digital comments, "As Fota Collection's digital partner we are always looking at new ways to attract and engage with existing customers and potential customers of the hotel. Conversational interfaces are a growing area of user interaction online and, as Fota Collection we're keen to enter this space, we identified Webio as leading innovators who could meet the complex requirements of a busy hotel group. Enabling customers to book by Facebook Messenger is just the first of many services and interactions that will be available across the Fota Collection. As dedicated innovators, working with Webio to facilitate the world's first hotel bookings by Facebook Messenger chatbot was a natural fit."

Delivering a conversational hotel booking experience from end-to-end

This kind of natural language and ordinary conversation that every smartphone user is used to having on a daily basis is a new and exciting initiative. "Chat and messaging has become such an integral part of all our lives," says Seamus Leahy, Director of Marketing of Fota Collection. "Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have a phenomenal 27.4 billion monthly active users. 'Dorothy' gives us the chance to have direct conversations with our guests in a way that dramatically changes how we can deliver across their complete customer journey before, during and after their stay. Our focus is on making our guest's experience as seamless as possible by giving them the technology to interact with us in the channel of their choice. We are minding them in the way that is most comfortable for them. 'Dorothy' is a new kind of receptionist, manager and concierge, and she allows us to provide a classically old-school kind of hospitality, but delivered in a contemporary, cutting-edge way."

Initially, Webio's first hotel bot was launched in The Kingsley, the Fota Collection's Cork city centre property and will be rolled out across the Fota collection in February.

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