Have you ever noticed a chat window popping up when you visit a website saying, “Hi, how can I help you?” offering to help you out?
That’s a chatbot in motion.
Today, in the age of digital revolution, chatbots - one of the most common AI-based enterprise applications, have become the talk of the town and why not, chatbots seem to be the best engagement software. They copy what we are all doing with our smartphones today.
In business, it has always been a rule to be where your customers are. It makes sense for a business to utilize chatbots that actually offers its users value. More and more businesses are using chatbots for online customer services, to resolve issues and answer simple questions, and for information retrieval. A few are even developing shopping assistance to give you recommendations when you are looking for a certain product.
Chatbots are classified into two: Scripted bots - pre-defined bots with a conversational flow, and AI bots - that includes AI algorithms, trained to user’s queries and makes a pattern to respond back to them with the most reliable answers possible. Typically, AI bots are preferred mostly because these also have some natural language understanding capabilities. As this technology continues to evolve, more companies will use chatbots as a way to engage with and assist their audience - and travel is not an exception.
According to the Aspect Consumer Experience Index research, 44% surveyed would prefer to use a chatbot to conduct all customer service interactions via text, chat, and messaging.
Based on a survey by Statista, the global chatbot market is predicted to reach 994 million U.S. dollars in 2024.
Chatbots are being used extensively by the leisure travel industry all around the world to provide customer service and all kinds of information that travelers are looking for. From booking tickets online to helping them explore new places and cities, chatbots are assisting travelers to guide them in the right direction according to their choice, plan, and budget. By doing this, the travel industry is taking leisure travel to the next level.
Though the leisure travel industry has started enjoying bot’s assistance, the business travel industry has just started embracing chatbots into their corporate travel programs in order to meet the demands and expectations of the current and future business traveler.
Considering the business travel industry, what does a business traveler expect? Of course, a time-saving, hassle-free, smooth travel experience. Well, data and AI-powered chatbots can overcome this challenge easily. The importance of AI assures better personalization for the business traveler. Lots of business travel trip search begins with googling and ends up with online travel agencies. To make corporate travelers stay away from tiresome planning and booking process, chatbots – mobile user-friendly personal assistants with sensible and predictive capabilities, in a form of a perfect travel companion is here to shape the future of the business travel industry and set a new standard in the mobile booking platform.
Travel chatbots are helping TMCs increase efficiency, build deeper connections and trust with customers, inspire new clients and enhance the customer experience. Frequently called ‘virtual travel agents’ these chatbots are based on an AI algorithm that learns about its consumer and takes on action items, such as manage certain elements of travel booking such as hotel confirmation or cancellation, or flight confirmation or cancellation.
Big names like Skyscanner, Expedia, and Booking.com have already implemented chatbots that provide flights and hotel recommendations and process bookings, facilitating a unifying experience to the user.
“Expedia chatbot, launched in 2016, works on Facebook Messenger and allows users to find rooms in hotels worldwide. After a user enters the location and dates, the chatbot suggests suitable variants and then prompts a user to visit the Expedia website and complete the booking.” – Expedia
Sam, a chatbot launched by FCM Travel Solutions, is a new 24/7 personalized travel assistant that supports users at every stage of the trip.
Source: FCM Travels
Mostly business-travel oriented, it is both a booking tool and a travel agent that gives live information about changes during the trips. - FCM Travels.
Skyscanner chatbot for Facebook Messenger assists business travelers that let users search for flights through conversational questions and answers.
“The messaging economy and conversational search are areas which we believe are incredibly important evolutionary features for the travel industry,” said Skyscanner director Filip Filipov. “It has been a top priority for us to take a pioneering approach when it comes to building a bot for the Messenger platform. We want to make travel search as easily accessible as possible and believe that the launch of our Messenger bot will allow more people to search for their travel in a fun and informative way.”
Chatbots come with multifaceted advantages for corporate travel businesses across the world. AI-powered algorithms, 24/7 availability, immediate response, saved user history, and combined user-experience are the extraordinary benefits of chatbots.
Messaging apps are shifting to become the new social media and it makes sense that most travel management companies have started to blend this type of assistance in their stock.