How travel companies can use chatbots to sell

Jun 5, 2019

We discuss why travel companies need to reduce friction in the sales process and how chatbots and AI can help.



Some travel companies have the luxury of customers that book well in advance and take the time to visit websites or their apps, but they are only part of the travel story.

A lot of services like tours, excursions, and local transportation are often booked at the last minute, from a mobile device, and frequently on-location.

Reducing friction in the sales process

For these businesses, reducing friction in the transaction is essential, because the customer is usually already in a hurry and their patience is at a premium. Asking them to download an app, use a clunky mobile website or go find a physical location in a city or airport they have never been to is possible, but is not a good idea.

The reason is that travelers often have multiple options to choose from, and they end up using the one that is easiest. Price sensitivity, in this stage of travel, tends to be low and only a marginal factor in their choices. As a result, companies find themselves competing to reduce friction and smart operators are turning to an exciting new technology to do it.

Chatbots are often perceived as simply robots that can have awkward, semi-human conversations with users, but they have come very far over the past few years. What we see now are advanced systems that can operate by themselves or in tandem with humans and can be used to handle complete sales transactions.

Using chatbots on messaging apps

What’s more, they can do all this using the very same messaging apps that your potential clients are already on. The numbers are constantly growing but on average an app like WhatsApp is opened by a user 23 times a day and already is used by more than a quarter of the global population Using bots inside messaging apps is the ultimate low-friction experience and, if done well, can give travel companies a significant competitive advantage.

Now, of course, you’ll be wondering what we mean by “if done well”. The answer is that not all chatbot implementations are the same, and it is very important to understand the market each company operates in, what its needs are and how it functions on the inside before making any decisions.

Ideally, a chatbot will need to integrate seamlessly with the company and ensure not only that customers are able to make a booking but also that no information is lost and that it is easy to escalate the conversation to a human agent if needed. Given the importance of the competitive advantage it can provide, even a small difference can become significant.

To help you navigate this new world we have put together a team of experts that will analyze your company and help you make the best decision. You can reach out to them using the link below.