Destination marketing in the chatbot age

Aug 19, 2020

We look at how destination marketing can take advantage of messaging apps, conversational marketing and chatbots.



In 2011 Sweden made headlines for allowing regular citizens to manage the country’s Twitter account. When the initiative ended in 2018 the account had tweeted over 200,000 times and had been run by 365 different Swedes. Over the years it had its ups and downs and provided a great way to show the country’s diversity.

One of the reasons cited for ending the experiment was that “times had changed”, suggesting, perhaps, that today’s internet isn’t the best place to have broad, public conversations about a country. The idea isn’t far-fetched if we consider the number of trolls, fake accounts, and other hazards that are present on public social networks.

Moving away from social networks

Today we live in a world where people are increasingly shifting towards personal messaging platforms like WhatsApp or WeChat and are abandoning platforms like Facebook. These apps have become the default method of communication for many people, and have very high adoption rates in the general population.

For destination marketers, this represents both a challenge and an opportunity. On the one hand, it is a communication tool with widespread adoption and open rates; on the other, it is also a platform where communication happens on an individual and personalized level, something very different from the single messages that traditional channels like Facebook or Twitter would show to millions of users.

Solving the challenges of conversational marketing

The granular, individual character of messaging app conversations makes them attractive to users but also presents a significant challenge to marketers. With social media, they could simply create a post and handle the comments, with conversational marketing they have to listen to users first and then respond with individualized content.

One way to do it would be to take the Sweden approach and apply it to a platform like WhatsApp. It would help showcase the country, but spotting problems and potentially damaging replies with content spread over thousands of individual conversations would be almost impossible.

A better way would be to use chatbots and AI, which can be trained to use a content library and pick resources from selected online sources. With today’s technology, a well-designed system could easily create personalized, engaging conversations and help showcase the country of destination’s unique character without risk.

The chatbot could also be used to collect data on the type of questions users ask, allowing destination marketers to design better campaigns. If you are interested in showcasing your destination and engaging potential travelers our team of experts will be more than happy to help. You can contact them using the link below.