Updated: Oct 20, 2021
With pandemic lockdown unlocking, travel industry is getting back to its feet. People have started traveling again, but with a sense of caution. Travellers have more questions now more than ever to ensure their safety wherever they go.
To make travellers and guests feel safe, travel agencies and hotels need to strengthen their online communication. Let’s find out how it can be done effectively with the capabilities of an AI-powered WhatsApp chatbot for travel.
The Challenges in front of the Travel Industry in 2021
In March 2020, the world went on a lockdown due to COVID-19, and all travel activities were put on hold. Travel bans and strict rules were imposed all over the globe. This impacted the travel and hospitality industry to the extent that it became almost motionless.
Now, when lockdown restrictions have been lifted, people have started traveling again. But those travellers now have trust issues with travel agencies and hotels. They want to fully ensure safety, hygiene, and other precautions before making any bookings.
With increased queries, travel businesses are finding it hard to provide accurate responses instantly whenever a customer demands it. Travel support teams are unable to address constant inquiries, provide booking information, and resolve issues without wasting a customer’s time.
When you talk about traveling, customers can choose any time of day or night to inquire. The issues can arise at any time of the day, and most of those issues require instant resolution. If not, then a customer feels completely abandoned in a foreign location, which cultivates frustrations for the service provider.
In 2021, travel companies and hotels have a better solution for these challenges than exhausting their employees – whatsApp chatbot for travel & tourism.
Opportunities with a WhatsApp Chatbot for Travel and Tourism
A WhatsApp Chatbot for travel and tourism provides all the solutions the industry is looking for. Not only it can automate most of the customer communication, but make those conversations more personalized for every individual. The 24*7 presence of an intelligent AI-powered WhatsApp chatbot improves the booking experience and boosts travellers’ engagement.
With a virtual assistant available day and night, your customers can easily plan their trip. They can get their flights, hotels, and other services booked instantly, resolve their safety concerns, arrange local transport, and get various issues resolved immediately.
Let’s talk about more unique use cases of WhatsApp chatbot in travel.
Top WhatsApp Travel Chatbot Use Cases
1. Making Flight/Hotel Bookings with WhatsApp Chatbot for Travel
The online world is full of booking choices for hotels and flights, which every user enjoys. But more choices can result in more confusion. And confused travellers spend too much time thinking instead of making their bookings. They want someone to help them out during this process, which becomes hard to find due to long call waiting periods and human agents unable to provide instant live chat support. This is when a WhatsApp chatbot for travel agency can prove to be a great helping hand for such travellers. It can offer personalized assistance in the process of choosing the right hotel rooms and flight seats. If a user wants to talk to a human agent, the bot can allow instant human handover of conversation on WhatsApp only. Hence, customers can clarify all their confusion and make the right bookings faster.
2. Building Travel Itineraries
Along with booking hotels and flights, travellers also wish to build their itinerary to plan a perfect vacation. They wish to know about all the best sightseeing options and activities in a location they are visiting. Plus, they might look for specific activities and wouldn’t want a standard tour package. A WhatsApp chatbot for travel and hospitality can assist travellers during their itinerary planning as well. It can identify their intents and interests to give best-suited choices. An AI-powered travel chatbot can offer a human-travel-agent-like experience and recommend smart options to the satisfaction of every customer.
3. Giving Instant Assistance
As mentioned before, instant and accurate assistance is how you can impress customers in the travel industry. And, promptness is required 24*7, so travellers can ask their queries whenever required. They can inquire about baggage allowance, ask for early/late check-in, request directions, and other things.
While a bot can quickly answer user questions before and during the journey, complex or specific queries can go to human reps instantly on the WhatsApp platform itself. This reduces the cost of customer support and improves business productivity.
4. Canceling or Modifying a Booking
There are times when travellers want to cancel or modify their bookings, especially right now when lockdown restrictions can occur suddenly. Even if you look beyond the current situation, modifying and canceling bookings are very common activities in the travel and tourism industry. With a WhatsApp chatbot in travel, there will be a virtual assistant always there to manage the last-minute changes requested by customers on their bookings. Given the fast pace of modification, it becomes a great advantage for both customers and travel businesses as well.
5. Sending Reminders and Alerts
People get busy in their everyday activities, which raises the possibility that they forget about travel details, dates, bookings, and other associated actions. So, timely notifications, reminders, and alerts are welcomed by customers. But, if you send notifications via SMS or email, don’t expect a high open-rate. It is way better to send such reminders via WhatsApp, especially with an AI-powered chatbot that can personalize notifications automatically for every customer. And, the message open rate reaches 99 percent.
6. Getting Feedback with WhatsApp Chatbot for Travel
When most of your business opportunities come from digital channels, customer feedback matters a lot. Many people usually check reviews online before making bookings. Hence, feedback collection is an important task for a travel company or any hospitality business.
Using a WhatsApp chatbot for travel allows an instant collection of feedback from happy customers. A bot can make the feedback process more interactive and crisper. So, customers don’t feel bothered by long boring forms that you send via email.
7. Giving Travel Guidelines over WhatsApp
People have just started traveling again and there are still several guidelines and restrictions they need to follow. It might make customers overwhelmed to remember all those rules and guidelines imposed or expected from them while traveling. You can help them here also with a checklist of travel guidelines over WhatsApp. Customers can learn about pandemic hotspots, restrictions on carrying certain items, night curfews, and other necessary guidelines via a WhatsApp chatbot for travel. This way, your customers can feel more confident and safer about traveling to a place with your assistance.
Benefits of Using WhatsApp Chatbot for Travel and Tourism
With all the use cases, you already know the importance of WhatsApp chatbot for travel and hospitality industry. Now let’s dive deep into the benefits of having a WhatsApp travel chatbot instead of other channels such as SMS or emails.
1. WhatsApp is Popular Among Users
It’s not news to anyone that WhatsApp is extremely popular among messaging app users. In fact, it has 2 billion monthly active users. While other networking platforms target a certain age group, WhatsApp is being used by people of all ages. It is simple and easy to make yourself familiar with. When you provide a WhatsApp chatbot option, your customers don’t have to add another app to their device to interact with your business. They can simply click on their favorite app and start talking to your AI-enabled travel chatbot.
2. WhatsApp API Enables Large Scale Messaging
Most of your promotional and marketing emails or SMS messages go to waste because no consumer reads them. This is because of the one-message-fits-all strategy you follow. But with WhatsApp chatbot for travel, you can send personalized messages on a large scale. While WhatsApp API allows message broadcasting, you can automate them based on customer behavior using the power of conversational AI.
The insights offered by WhatsApp will help you know the ‘message read ratio’, which you can use to constantly upgrade your WhatsApp drip marketing strategy for maximum bookings.
3. Chat Stay Encrypted
WhatsApp platform is end-to-end encrypted. Users can feel secure while sending even a sensitive document. Hence, your customers can freely send their identification documents, passport copies, and other details via WhatsApp. This way, you can ease the process of making all their reservations in an interactive manner. If a customer wants to claim any refund, he or she can conveniently share the receipt via this platform. No need to go back and forth from one platform to another to securely share valuable documents. Hence, you can keep the promised fast pace of refund, cancellation, and booking procedures.
4. Customers Feel Satisfied
There’s no way of retaining travel customers without making them satisfied at every stage whether it's pre-booking while traveling, or after coming back from vacation. Competition is fierce out there and customers take no time to find another option if your business fails to fulfill their requirements. In such scenarios, a WhatsApp chatbot in travel and hospitality can be a perfect companion for your human agents and representatives. It can instantly address the concerns of every customer simultaneously to ensure 100% satisfaction. A WhatsApp travel assistant bot can work 24*7 for 365 days without losing its efficiency. No matter what time zone your customers belong to, they won’t have to wait to get their questions answered or make bookings.
5. Your Business Attains Global Presence
WhatsApp is a global brand. It has users in all major countries and people are communicating everywhere in the world using WhatsApp. So, with a WhatsApp travel chatbot by your side, you can give your business a global presence. You can target and engage travellers coming from foreign lands for greater ROI than other channels. The simplicity of WhatsApp makes it approachable in both developed and developing nations. Any consumer can just open his or her mobile phone and start conversing with your business over this platform.
6. Operation Costs Go Down
A WhatsApp chatbot for business becomes can take over thousands of conversations at once. It can answer most of the queries and only transfers highly complex queries to human agents. Hence, a chatbot takes away most of the workload from your customer support executives. All the saved time can be then utilized to provide a deeper level of attention to customers with critical complaints and requests. Agents can look over the entire conversations between the bot and customers in the backend for better understanding. As the support executives get lesser query volumes on a daily basis, your business can work efficiently with a compact team of customer care professionals.