Chatbots are revolutionizing the travel industry and simplifying life for travelers.
As conversational commerce continues to catch on, travel companies are emerging as early adopters, creating virtual assistants to help consumers book flights and accommodation. In recent months, Expedia, Booking.com, Cheapflights and Skyscanner all have taken advantage of new Facebook Messenger features and created chatbots to help travelers find flights at the cheapest prices.
In June 2016, airfare booking platform Cheapflights launched a Facebook messenger bot that adapts to the conversation style of each individual user, responding in similar language. “Our brand promise is all about making the process of researching and experiencing air travel smarter and simpler,” says Samantha Otter, marketing director at Cheapflights. “Cheapflights Chat is another step towards frictionless dialogue with our users, and we’re looking forward to seeing how we can further develop this way of interacting with them in the months ahead.”
Along the same lines, travel app HelloGbye works with natural language that is convenient and easy to understand. Travelers voice what kind of vacation they want and the app generates a list of potential flights tailored to their requirements.
Beyond bookings, travel brands are also harnessing chatbots to improve the vacation experience. Online platform HiJiffy acts as a concierge for a range of hotels, integrating with Facebook Messenger. The app allows guests to talk with hotel staff at all hours of the day. Visitors can ask about the best tourist locations, book hotel services and airport transfers and the app even translates automatically to the guest’s language.
Exa, currently an early-stage startup, wants to help hospitality companies use Amazon’s voice-activated assistant Alexa so that guests can order room service, set wake up calls and ask questions from the convenience of their hotel room.
As discussed in our Frontier(less) Retail report, companies from Sephora to Capital One are leveraging messaging and voice automation to drive sales and improve the customer experience. According to SONAR™, 60% of US millennials and 53% of UK millennials would prefer talking to a chatbot to a human when it comes to resolving questions about online shopping.
In the travel industry, where organization and planning can be particularly stressful for consumers, conversational commerce offers a huge opportunity. Artificially intelligent chat bots offer great promise for delivering the simple, fuss-free experiences that travelers demand.