Most often we hear about the use of chatbots for processing calls in contact centers. Less common are examples of the implementation of a bot into internal support systems. As we wrote in our recent article, “chatbots are set to become a significant part of internal communications and take on a majority of routine tasks.”
This time we will take a closer look at the use of chatbot technology in tourism; with a chatbot, planning your vacation is easier and much more enjoyable.
What Can a Travel Agent Bot Do?
1. Book tickets, hotels and make a travel itinerary
Nowadays, people can find all the necessary information for planning a trip by googling it or browsing a travel agency’s website. They can choose a tour and take care of the technicalities on their own or consult a travel consultant through an online chat. All these tasks can be solved in a matter of seconds by a virtual assistant, who reduces the time spent by both travel agency employees and prospective travelers.
For example, you can ask the chatbot for advice about where to spend summer vacation. The bot will suggest a wide array of interesting places, determine the best dates for the trip, offer flight and hotel options depending on the client’s budget, and promptly add the trip to the client’s calendar.
Chatbots can be found not only on the travel agency’s website, but also in instant messengers, which makes them all the more accessible and convenient. The entertaining chatbot Hello Hipmunk, for one, is available on Facebook Messenger. In addition to basic functionality, Hello Hipmunk can analyze the users’ travel-related emails and calendar to swiftly choose the most convenient options (with the user’s permission, of course).
2. Works 24/7
This is always a plus, but is especially important in travel planning. Clients may need to change the details of the trip at any time of day, cancel something on short notice or quickly check something with the travel agency while on vacation. All this can be done instantly through a chatbot, without the hassle of waiting for a travel agent to answer the phone, which can be doubly difficult in high season.
3. Increases customer loyalty
One of the chatbots’ greatest advantages is that they constantly change and adapt to customers. The chatbot can remember their preferences and offer similar options when prompted by them again. A regularly updated answer database allows the chatbot to accumulate knowledge about the most common requests and to gradually optimize responses and better understand clients. This way, virtual assistants become a more appealing and convenient instrument for planning an adventure with zero hassle.
Sam, FCM Travel Solutions’ Friendly Chatbot
An example of successful implementation of a travel agent chatbot is Sam —FCM Travel Solutions’ AI-based chatbot, which, according to satisfied users, repeatedly “saved” them during their travels. Sam has a wide range of features coupled with pleasant manner of communication. In addition to being able to take care of all of the abovementioned tasks, Sam has a built-in reminder system that the client can configure: the chatbot reminds users of their upcoming flight or the need to head to the airport early, and even warn the client about bad weather conditions during the trip.
The tourism business, like many other areas, is being enhanced and optimized by AI-technologies. According to data from the World Travel & Tourism Council, the tourism sector grew at 3.9% and contributed a total of $8.8 trillion to the global economy in 2018. With demands for travel rising at this pace, virtual assistants who can help clients at all stages of travel-planning are sure to become invaluable part for the travel industry.