a&o Hostels, Europe's leading hostel chain, is laying the foundation for future communication with the help of Conversational AI. The Conversational Middleware platform BOTfriends X now serves the Berlin-based budget group as a central platform for developing, managing and optimising chat and voicebots. André Kahl, Head of e-Development at a&o, explains why they chose BOTfriends X:

What challenges does a&o Hostels face?

"In today's world, information needs to be accessible quickly and easily.
We would like to open up another way for our customers and guests to get an answer to their questions and requests quickly and conveniently. This can be done via their smartphone - using Facebook or WhatsApp. After receiving the desired information, guests are given the opportunity to book directly via these channels.

Every month we receive a wide variety of inquiries from guests about our locations in Europe. Here we are faced with the challenge of providing individual, but also location-specific detailed information. Because a large number of messages reach us, we have worked with text modules and individual adaptations. Our agents have access to a knowledge database from which relevant information can be retrieved and communicated at any time."


Which criteria and requirements were relevant for the decision-making process?

"On the one hand, it was of course important to us that the tool to be used had the scope and technical capabilities we needed to develop our chatbot. On the other hand, the interpersonal component was also important to us. We were looking for a partner for whom chatbots are not just a product, but a passion. Who supports us and simply enjoys the fact that we develop our chatbot together."


In which areas is BOTfriends X used at a&o Hostels?

"First of all we want to map our FAQs, but the potential is huge. We would like to enable our guests to book directly, get information about their current booking status and travel location, as well as adjust bookings or add additional services.


What does a&o Hostels expect from the use of BOTfriends X?

"Our goal is to increase the user experience by providing fast and easy communication options. We expect our service center to be relieved of some of the workload. In future, recurring standard queries are to be processed directly by our bot. Guests will be able to book or make changes in just a few easy steps and will quickly and easily receive exactly the information they are interested in. With BOTfriends X we hope to take a further step in our technical development. Training the chatbot will certainly be an interesting experience".


Which functions of BOTfriends X are particularly important for use at a&o Hostels?

"Compared to Dialogflow, the connections to our interfaces are much easier to manage. The required code from our side is much less and more efficient."

Thank you very much for the interview.