Travellers are open to communicating with chatbots

Airlines and travel companies are making it easier for consumers to book through WhatsApp and WeChat. At the same time, they have begun to implement online chat apps which can follow up with consumers about their bookings or requirements.

That’s according to new insights shared by omnichannel conversation platform Smooch by Zendesk.

Almost half of consumers (46%) would prefer to speak to a chatbot if the service as faster according to Phocus Wire research. Kayak for example has launched a chatbot with OTA capabilities for Messenger. The bot can search for flights and hotels. Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines lets customers book flights with the MH Chats Messenger bot.

Booking hotel rooms via a chat app is still a rare affair. Around 75% of hotel rooms in Europe are booking through OTAs.

“Brands are reluctant to exchange sensitive information over channels that aren’t encrypted end-to-end or where user authentication and payment are difficult,” the report says.

Companies such as SnapTravel or My SWFT are at the forefront of companies that allow users to book budgets hotels via Messenger or WhatsApp.

According to Gartner, chatbots will handle 85% of customers requests by 2020. According to the report, planning and booking are more common activities occurring on bots.

70% of travellers prefer to be notified of pre-flight changes via messaging apps.

Messaging has also proven to be a valuable tool for hotel brands. For example, Four Seasons provides a chat experience on WhatsApp, WeChat and Messenger.

Private messages are also a great way to get an understanding of a customer’s post-trip experience.

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