AI has revolutionized travel industry…
… to the point that consumers can no longer imagine their life without travel chatbots and conversational platforms.
According to the study posted by Travel Daily News:
- over ¾ of Americans lean heavily on chatbots to improve their travel experience
- 84% of respondents claim they regularly use chatbots provided by travel brands for booking
- 66% of respondents claim they find travel chatbots ‘useful’ when organizing business and leisure travel arrangements
In general, travel chatbots simplified many travel-related processes, such as booking a hotel or a flight, making them mistake-free. The participants of this survey admitted that chatbots helped them avoid booking mistakes and also helped find cheaper travel options.
On top of all, AI in the travel industry has won the hearts of younger generations, with millennials and Gen Z preferring to deal with live agents and travel chatbots.
Why Is There So Much Hype?
Introducing conversational AI to travel industry isn’t just a whim of travel companies to remain trendy.
There are specific reasons why conversational AI is so important for the travel industry, namely:
- Saving time and effort. Travel agents know, how many times a day they have to answer routine queries and frequently asked questions. Since creating a FAQ page is no longer user-friendly, chatbots take over this job to leave no query unattended.
- Personalization and customer satisfaction. Customers always expect companies to be available 24/7, and chatbots have made it possible. Moreover, to personalize communication, chatbots use NLP to understand vague queries and ask questions.
- A safe way to collect and store consumer data. A chatbot traces the whole customer journey, from choosing a place to book to purchase, as well as positive and negative feedback. Travel brands outsource this task for chatbots and can retrieve it at any time.
It’s important to add that using conversational platforms helps brand cut expenses. Big travel brands, like Booking.com, use chatbots to answer thousands of queries a day, thus saving money on hiring extra customer support agents.
Travel Brands and Conversational Platforms: Best Practices
Since we’ve established the role of conversation AI for the travel industry, let’s dig deeper and take a look at the best practices of travel brands using conversational platforms.
Getting familiar with these practices will be of great help for marketing specialists, who are looking for the ideas of chatbot implementation in the travel industry.
1. Taking Over the Conversational AI: KLM Travel Support
Make it as accessible as possible – this is a general idea behind KLM Royal Dutch Airlines taking over all existing conversational platforms.
KLM was one of the first companies to start using WhatsApp Business API to provide passengers with:
- booking confirmations
- boarding passes
- check-in notifications
- flight status, etc.
Besides WhatsApp, KLM also actively uses Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and WeChat to help customers make their journey as trouble-free as possible.
On Facebook Messenger, KLM has their BB booking bot operating to help customers find the best flight deals to help them get to the desired destination:
What’s important about KLM’s BB chatbot is that it can redirect customers to human assistants in case it doesn’t recognize a certain query:
Another good practice that KLM has employed to increase customer satisfaction is application localization. Their services are available on all the above-mentioned conversational platforms in English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and other languages. Localization is crucial to this type of services, as travelers need precise information to make sure they get on the right plane and can plan their travel arrangements accordingly.
2. Focusing on User Experience: Hipmunk
Hipmunk is another travel brand famous for actively using different conversational platforms to help their customers find the best travel deals. The company introduced their chatbot due to the growing demand for extra help, as their average users run over 20 searches a day to plan their trip.
Besides being available on Facebook and Skype, Hipmunk also has its chatbot assistant on Slack for companies, which use this platform for communication.
Hipmunk’s chatbot takes user experience to another level. It automatically determines a customer’s location to specify where they are traveling from, offering the best travel deals from this location to the one set by the user, also giving information on the best routes to get to the airport faster.
Not only Hipmunk’s bot does a good job finding the best travel deals, but it’s also fun to communicate with. It exchanges gifs and emojis with the users, as well as talks to you in a casual manner:
The use of casual language and creating the experience of human conversations makes Hipmunks chatbot one of the most engaging robot-human interactions.
3. Best Deals Served Directly: SnapTravel
While KLM and Hipmunk still heavily rely on their websites and mobile apps to have their customers search for travel deals, SnapTravel is a unique travel brand that doesn’t use a middleman platform to help their users successfully plan their trips.
SnapTravel operates solely with the help of chatbots on Messenger, WhatsApp, or SMS. While this travel brand still has a website, users can only receive travel information via chatbots.
After entering the city of interest, users can choose one of three contact options, through which they will continue communicating with the brand in the future:
By clicking on Messenger, for instance, you get redirected to their Messenger bot that immediately sends you all the available hotel deals (in our case, in Barcelona):
Snaptravel’s bot is automatically set to provide users with discounts and the best available hotel deals. By clicking on the offer, a user gets redirected to the website of the hotel with a discount already applied, as Snaptravel uses UTM links to redirect its users.
Conversational AI is Definitely Worth Investment
All travel brands, mentioned in this article, have been using conversational AI for a while. This means thousands of good travel deals shared with their customers and great user experience. Indeed, using conversational platforms can greatly benefit your business. You’ll improve customer support, save your customers’ time searching for a better travel deal and create a positive user experience.
About the author: this is the guest post by Erica Sunarjo, an experienced translator and currently a blogger. She likes to discuss topics related to translation services, content localization, and digital marketing.
Title image from Cherry pack on Ouch, the library of free vectors
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