Chatbots have become the buzzword of innovation technology. The travel industry constantly faces pressure to come up with innovative solutions to entice its customers. From virtual reality to artificial intelligence no technology is left untouched when it comes to giving customized and innovative solutions. According to a research by Expedia, on average, customers visit 38 sites for planning their trips. This means that they have to go through a huge pile of content to find the best fit plan. Chatbots have the potential to provide a streamlined user experience and that delivers personalized solutions. This defines a huge opportunity for travel industries to leverage the potential of such technologies.
What are Chatbots?
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates a human-like conversation with the user using technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. A chatbot relies on natural language processing to understand the human language. Artificial intelligence and machine learning on the other hand help in providing intelligent responses to the user. In simple terms, it is a computer program that can initiate a conversation just like humans do. Chatbots are being increasingly used in many industries like travel, hospitality, retail, food industry etc. Especially in travel chatbots have shown an immense scope of growth and market potential. Here we will observe 7 benefits that come with chatbots in travel and how this industry is leveraging them.
Benefits of Chatbots in Travel:
1. Better Customer Service:
Chatbots have the potential to deliver seamless customer service. Whether it is about communicating urgent information or providing solutions to immediate problems, chatbots can handle it all. Your customers will always feel your support system by their side irrespective of their time zone. This is something travelers always need particularly during international travels. By being there for your customers for every need they have you will be able to provide an improved level of customer service.
2. Improved Engagement:
A chatbot is one such customer touchpoint which ensures maximum engagement. It is even more engaging than human assistants because there are no time boundaries. Travel bots are able to solve queries, give recommendations, initiate transactions or just have casual interactions. With so many possibilities comes the added benefit of all time availability. This ensures improved customer’s engagement with your brand even more than a mobile app or social media.
3. More Revenue Opportunities:
Chatbots are capable of taking the consumer from the awareness stage to the conversion stage within minutes. You can also add offers, coupons and even a payment gateway in your chatbots. A research by Google shows that 69% of business travelers and 65% of holiday travelers go online for travel planning. It also says that 92% of millennials find live chat engaging and 23% of them are predicted to travel and spend $1.4 trillion by 2020. All this brings in more possibilities of conversions and revenue growth through travel chatbots.
4. Competitive Advantages:
From airlines to travel agencies the entire travel industry is rapidly adopting travel chatbots. You can still grab the early bird advantage (if you be innovative) but if you remain negligent then you might lose a huge market share. Some of the major travel companies with chatbots include Expedia, British Airways, Skyscanner, Kayak, Hyatt Hotels, Booking.com, Uber etc. Did you notice something? From hotel to airlines to cabs all companies that provide travel service have their chatbots ready. It is the best time to start working on automation solutions. Do it before the competition moves ahead.
5. Cost Effective:
Bot development is highly cost-effective. With the power of artificial intelligence, chatbots are able to solve many customer problems of routine nature. This means you no longer need to outsource to 3rd party customer care centers. Additionally, new travel startups can skip app development and directly move to bots to save resources. The implementation costs of chatbots are coming down and many service providers have also emerged. Natural language processing and machine learning have become sophisticated enough to enable development of more complex solutions. According to the EyeforTravel report, the costs involved in bot development roughly range between €15,000 to €50,000.
“This isn’t a significant investment for an airline when they’re spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions, a year on other digital experience products,”
-Mike Slone, chief experience officer at Travelaer.
6. Saves Time:
Chatbots can handle routine queries and save the precious time of customer service representatives. This will enable them to handle more complex customer problems and lay focus on other complex managerial activities. If your bot is skilled to handle customer problems then this can ease the workload on the many airline employees from ground staff to cabin crew. It will also save customers’ time that is spent in reaching out to service executives and listening to that 30 min long solo music on the helpline!
7. Access to Data:
Chatbots record each of their communication with the users. This means that they can collect data that gives insights into the customer experience, purchase history, problems etc. This will help companies to gain a 360-degree view of their customers. Using the insights generated from chatbots, companies can send personalized marketing messages. This will bring in the personal touch awaited by the customers since a long time. From the customer’s perspective, they will always have access to the chat history so they can refer their queries at any point of time.
Top 3 ways of using a chatbot in travel and hospitality:
1. Reservation Agents:
By taking inputs like date of arrival and departure and preferred location a chatbot can suggest hotel destinations. Once a user is presented with a list of hotels to choose from he can them book the room and make payments from the bot itself. This can make the task of booking simple and sophisticated. These travel bots can search through hundreds of sites to provide best deals to the user. Booking companies have come up with many interesting solutions along with the above basics. Such as “Route tips” by Skyscanner which shows the cheapest or the busiest weekday to travel, or the “Inspire me” option on Cheapflights.
2. Tour Guide:
The next time you feel alone on a journey do remember to pull out your Marsbot for free access to the local guide to any place. This bot displays reviews and suggestions based on your location so that you don’t miss the best of any place. Bot from Uber and Assist also allow similar options to travelers. The whole point of providing such in-hand local guides is to skyrocket the level of customer experience your brand provides. The ultimate aim of course is to win more and more loyal customers.
3. Customer Care:
From FAQs to advice to travel tips a chatbot can help bring improvised customer service to all. A chatbot can ease the job of your customer care reps by automating customer query responses. Airlines can provide travel bots to help customers onboard easily by answering their common questions. Similarly, travel agents can provide suggestions, advice, and tips for a good travel experience. Basically, travel bots can bring life to your website’s FAQ section by solving customer’s queries on the go.
Chatbots in travel and hospitality industry can help bring personalization in communication. Today the fight in any industry is to win loyal customers by providing the best buying experience. Chabot is one such scalable way to provide a great buying experience that is also cost-effective. At NewGenApps we have worked many chatbots and automated solutions. We have even built our own FAQ travel bot (check the demo) and many other bots for different industries. If you want to develop a chatbot for your company then feel free to contact us: