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New hotel tech software breaking language barriers

Non-English speaking hotel guests can now chat with Australian hotels in their own language.

Hotels in Australia can now directly communicate with international travellers in their own language via the soft launch this week of a new SMS tech service designed to enhance customer service for travellers not well versed in English.

Dubbed Jeeves.Plus, the online platform allows hotels to communicate directly with guests to provide customer service without a language barrier.

According to independent research, communication via text message is making a comeback. Around the world, 98% of text messages received are opened, with 90% of which opened within three minutes of receipt.

The tech platform communicates with guests via standard global SMS text message networks and presents messages to a hotel’s customer service team, reception or concierge team in a user-friendly portal in which messages can be archived and organised in folders to the user’s preference.

On signing up, hotels are provided with any number of cellular-format mobile phone numbers which a guest can use to communicate with a customer service representative at any stage of their stay, either before check-in or as post-stay service. Typing in their native language, this message is automatically translated into English for the hotel employee to read. Responses, when sent, are translated back into the guest’s language when the response is received on their phone. Jeeves.Plus can translate over 104 languages into English and back again.

Hotels receive and send messages in English and messages are translated to the user’s native tongue.

The program has recently completed its beta testing phase in the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour and has received the backing of prominent hotel investor Dr Jerry Schwartz. The portal is also being considered at a government and corporate level for dealing with international colleagues, customers and stakeholders.

A key efficiency, according to beta testers, was that multiple text conversations could be kept on the go at any one time, with each listed to the side of the screen and easy to maintain as new messages are highlighted for action once received. Messages sent from hotel operators can also include maps, video links, vouchers, surveys and more to further enhance customer service.

Discussions are now underway between Jeeves.Plus and HotSOS for an integration with the existing widely-used hospitality service platform.

Jeeves.Plus founder David Hayes said the technology has the potential to revolutionise customer service in the hospitality sector in Australia.

“Early stats from US trials of similar SMS engagement platforms indicate a threefold increase in agent productivity, a twentyfold lift in sales conversions, and a massive decrease in the cost of handling a customer service.”

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