Chatbot technology is the new hype in the tourism industry. So far, only a few tourism companies have implemented the applications, e.g., Skyscanner, Kayak. Besides, such market giants as Booking and Tripadvisor are experimenting with chatbots. In the coming future, chatbots are expected to become personal travel agents. Tourists will use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to make requests for online travel providers.
How does it work?
Integrated into an instant messenger, a chatbot forms semantically correct sentences like a human:
‘What is your travel destination?’
It recognizes keywords and typical phrases. After a quick search on the Internet, the program gives an answer:
‘I have 5348 suitable flights for you!’
The advantages of chatbots are undoubted. The technology allows reducing personnel costs. Chatbots can’t experience a psychological stress like humans. Hence, being always prompt, friendly, and available 24/7, they provide a great opportunity to improve customer service and boost customer satisfaction.
One more point refers to its easy usability. Chatbots integrated into Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp don’t require the installation of any additional apps. An instant messenger has everyone nowadays.
The technology is still in its infancy
Currently, the error rate is still high. The program requires clear instructions. The flight search is limited to simple requests without supplementary questions.
In a few years, however, the functionality will be extended, and planning holidays using chatbot will become common.
What the future holds
We can expect, that digital travel assistants will not only be able to make a quick search on the Internet, but also ask questions to clarify further details (e.g., travel period, duration, etc.), and recommend travel destinations and hotels. Further, chatbots will have all the necessary user’s personal data to carry out a trip booking automatically.
In the distant future, it is certainly conceivable that chatbots will even know the history of user’s previous trips in order to use this data to provide similar offers. Additionally to the features mentioned above, the software can be synchronized with user’s calendar and wearables. The program will be able to analyze the entire information on appointments, vacation days as well as user’s stress level, and send recommendations that it’s time to go on holidays.