Industry | 6 MIN READ

How Chatbots Can Help The Struggling Travel Sector

Published by Hardik Makadia on 30-May-2020

As traveling has picked up exponentially over the last decade, so have travel companies. To cater to the needs and demands of the new-age digitally adept traveler, travel companies continue to seek new ways to improve customer journey and make travel more convenient.

With technological advancements, the way people now plan their trips has also changed. Gone are the days when people used to visit the local travel agents to book a flight or a hotel. Travel companies that understand the importance of digitizing their business have started transforming travel experience digitally to attract more travelers and retain their clients.

The latest technological implementation that has made a positive impact over businesses from various verticals is chatbot. Chatbots are computer programs, more like virtual companions, that communicate with us through text messages, using artificial intelligence. Chatbots are integrated with websites or messaging apps to help businesses automate their regular tasks.

Chatbots are increasingly being utilized by the travel sector to cater to new-age travelers and stand strong in the face of competition. Elucidated below are some use-cases where travel chatbots are benefitting the travel industry.

Flight and Hotel Bookings

Trip planning begins with flight and hotel bookings. In the search for lowest prices and best deals, people scour through a multitude of websites and apps. A vast plethora of options from different sources all over the internet only confuses the customer and they end up rethinking their choices/plans.

People visit 38 websites, on an average, while planning their trips, according to a research by Expedia Media Solutions.

A travel chatbot easily proves to be a simple and user-friendly solution to the problem of complicated booking processes. A travel chatbot provides contextual answers to the queries of the customer. With chatbots, travelers can also approach your company to seek recommendations and book flights and hotels. What’s more, the travel chatbot can be deployed on different channels like Facebook, Skype, Slack, Twitter, etc. enabling your customers to have a uniform experience.

Big names like Skyscanner, Expedia, Booking.com have already implemented chatbots which provide flights and hotels recommendations and process bookings, thereby providing a simplistic and unifying experience to the user. In fact, Skyscanner was one of the first travel sector brands to introduce conversational search interfaces.

Chatbots are increasingly being preferred by consumers to communicate with a brand. It is no surprise that 69% of consumers prefer chatbots for quick communication with brands. In February 2018, Skyscanner reported having surpassed one million chatbot interactions. KLM, the European Airline industry leader, saw a 40% increase in customer interactions through its Facebook Messenger channel.

Travel Assistance

Not just recommendations and bookings, travel chatbots can be programmed to assist the traveler throughout the trip. Right from deciding where to go to building an itinerary to tracking expenses, chatbots are increasingly becoming the go-to assistants for travelers. A chatbot presents a refreshing conversational replacement for boring long forms and probes the users about their preferences in an interactive manner.

Vague queries like “exotic beach destinations” can be comprehended by intelligent chatbots powered by natural language processing capabilities to offer an elaborate set of services. Your travel bot can also suggest holiday spots to suit what the individual is looking for and offer the best recommendations, cross-sell popular packages and more. After the user has selected the best-suited offer, bookings and payments can also be processed within the chatbot itself. Post booking, providing a list of sight-seeing spots, info on popular local food, locating rental car service, local weather forecast, et all can be taken care of by the travel chatbot.

FCM Travel Solutions, global players in the travel management industry, launched its AI chatbot application named Sam which provides travel assistance at every stage of the trip. Focused mainly on business travel, Sam enables travel bookers and managers to manage their travel itineraries, alerts them about flight delays or cancellations, calculates travel expenses, and provides booking options in line with compliance and travel policies of the user’s company.

Customer Service Management

Human agents are not always available to provide prompt customer support during the holiday season or other peak travel times. Especially in the case of international travel, where time zones can become a hindrance in the path of people seeking immediate answers, chatbots can jump to the traveler’s rescue. Chatbot’s ability to work 24*7 tirelessly makes it ideal for the customer care department. Chatbots are live 24*7 on your website or application, thus the prospects landing on your website at any hour of the day are able to get their queries answered.

With the help of a travel bot, you can automate frequently asked questions and save your resources. If the bot is asked something which requires a human agent to jump in, the bot can simply collect the details of the prospect and notify the human agent. The agent can then get back to the person with the required solution.

Some airports like Lyon Airport and Frankfurt Airport use travel chatbots to provide travelers with airport guides, flight status, and information about airport lounges, shops, restaurants, and more.

Chatbots can also be used to collect feedback from the customers. Chatbots can automatically send reminders to your customers urging them to write reviews and submit ratings for your services. What’s more, responding to customer complaints to avoid negative feedback can also be facilitated by the chatbot. Chatbots allow users to privately address their grievances, which with the help of Artificial Intelligence can be categorized and prioritized for easier handling. Thus, designated employees can address problems in the moment, before a negative review goes up on Google.

Travel chatbots come with multi-faceted benefits for your travel agency/businesses. 24*7 availability, prompt response, saved user history, unified user-experience are some of the many benefits of chatbots. In the era of digitization, chatbots provide a seamless and hassle-free experience to the users, thus making them stick to your brand.

It isn’t as easy as it seems to create a truly beneficial chatbot. It is important to design the chatbot such that it provides value to both the business and its customers. We, at WotNot, understand this and have worked with businesses across verticals to develop valuable and scalable chatbots that work as personal assistants and provide a seamless experience to the customers.

We also have a predefined Travel Recommendation template where you can experience the chatbot for FREE. Take a minute and feel how you can access all the benefits listed above here.

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