Revolutionising the travel experience with chatbots in 2024
In 2024, the travel and tourism industry is expected to reach $927 billion. With nearly $1 trillion devoted to travel, and those numbers expected to rise, it’s no doubt that there’s a lot of opportunity to succeed with a travel business. But, time is everything in the travel business. And if you aren’t using a travel chatbot, you may be wasting valuable customer time.
While travel companies have used chatbots to answer simple questions and reach customer support, they’re now more advanced than ever. With more advanced travel chatbots, you can give customers their booking information, check-in info, flight updates, and more — all in real-time.
In this guide, we’ll break down how you can revolutionise your travel experience with chatbots in 2024 to build a loyal customer base and delight customers with every interaction.
What are travel chatbots?
Simply put, travel chatbots are sophisticated chatbots that provide quick and easy customer support to travel customers, without an immediate response from a specialised support professional.
Rather than relying on customer support to give customers answers to their more basic questions, travel and tourism businesses can rely on software like chatbots to help fuel the customer experience and cut down on customer wait times.
Would you rather have to call in and wait “in line” for 20 minutes just to get through to a customer service agent? Or, would you rather click a few buttons, and get the answer you need in seconds?
Travel chatbots help travel companies provide round-the-clock support to their customers by leveraging AI-based technologies.
Travel chatbots, like “regular” chatbots provide a simple function:
- They provide text-based support to customers
- They lean on conversational communication to speak like a human
- They offer quick resolutions
- Many even offer product or service recommendations
And, they offer this support 24/7.
When a customer needs help, a travel chatbot can help solve their problem quickly.
Benefits of travel chatbots
Travel chatbots aren’t just a neat thing to add to your travel business. While many businesses will add one onto their website to keep up with trends, there are several reasons why you need one to stay competitive in 2024.
Affordable, 24/7 availability
Your customer service professionals do their best to provide great support. But, there’s one tiny problem: they probably shouldn’t work around the clock.
And if you’ve managed to provide 24/7 live support, there’s a hefty price associated with it. Chatbots offer something humans can’t: affordable 24/7 service. They offer businesses a simple solution to “off-hours” when your customer service reps are off the clock. Your travel chatbot will keep working every second of the day, year-round.
While it’s important to still have live support on hand to answer those more complicated questions, leveraging a travel chatbot can take a lot of the weight off your team so they can provide even better support when they are on the clock.
Instant customer support
Travel chatbots aren’t only beneficial because of how available they are. They’re great because they offer support the moment a customer needs it. Nobody wants to wait in a 30-60 minute queue to get through to someone.
In 2024, we want things faster:
- Food delivery (You’re not the only one following your food delivery on your app)
- Instant entertainment suggestions (Netflix, TikTok)
- And, of course, customer service
If you’re not able to give your customers the help they need the moment they need it, you’ll lose business to your competitors. You need to be able to help your customers quickly. Travel chatbots are one of the best ways to do this.
All a customer has to do is click a button on your site, ask a question from their smartphone or laptop, and boom! They’ve got their answer.
One way travel chatbots are advancing is with personalisation. Travel chatbots are able to collect first-party data on your customers like their:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Buying preferences
- And more
By pulling in this customer data, they’re able to help understand the unique needs of their customer. Plus, they can use data like purchase history, browsing history, and more, to offer personalised help and even product recommendations.
Enhanced customer experience and agent productivity.
Your customer support team can help your customers on their own. But, they’ll be set up to truly delight customers with more personalised conversations with a chatbot for travel.
Travel chatbots are constantly communicating with customers and collecting data. When your human support team is on the clock, they can dive into those conversations your customer was having with your travel chatbot.
Then, with a background on a customer’s unique situation, problem, and some initial data, your travel chatbot can pass the torch off to your human support team to provide even better service than they could have on their own.
This will help them be more productive and enable them to give your customers a better experience.
Top travel chatbots for 2024
Sold on travel chatbots? Here are a few of the top recommendations for you and your team to explore:
Trengo is a multichannel customer engagement platform that offers a simple, single inbox to manage all of your customer communications.
Trengo’s chatbot can easily be customised for travel businesses. Once customised for your travel business, you’ll be able to chat with your customers with a live chat tool and a chatbot, all within a user-friendly interface.
Trengo regularly works with travel businesses like Ferryscanner to automate customer conversations.
- Add a knowledge base for self service and quick answers
- Collaboration tools (team tagging, internal team chants, and message assignments)
- Flowbot quick replies that automatically answers customers’ most common questions
- WhatsApp templates that speed up replies
- Rules for automatic assignment of conversations to the right team members
Starts at $19 per user, per month with a personalised free demo.
Zendesk is a long-time customer support tool used by over 185,000 users worldwide. The software comes equipped with a chatbot that can be easily integrated into almost any travel organisation.
- Interaction history tracking
- Live chat and chatbot
- Customer profiles
- Ticketing system
- Automatic AI responses
- Multilingual capabilities for international teams
Starts at $55 per user, per month (billed annually) with a 14-day free trial.
LiveChat has been around since 2002. What makes them different is the fact that they're solely focused on their live chat and chatbot tool. With over 33,000 users worldwide, their software offers businesses in travel and beyond simplify their live chat and chatbot experience.
- Interactive pop-up chats that encourage engagement
- Advanced reporting and analytic
- Easy integrations into LiveChat’s other products
- File sharing
- Chat archives
Starts at $20 per user, per month (billed annually) with a 14-day free trial.
How travel chatbots enhance customer experience: three examples
Travel chatbots have become a crucial part of the digital travel experience. Here are three ways they’re being used in the travel industry.
1. Expedia (Chatbot for travel agency)
Expedia is one of the world’s largest travel websites. In order to help customers with their travel experiences, they offer a seamless Facebook messenger travel chatbot to keep customers up-to-date on their trips with features like check-in reminders.
2. WestJet (Juliet, travel AI chatbot)
WestJet, a leading Canadian airline recently launched Juliet, a travel AI virtual assistant travel chatbot. With the airline chatbot, you can communicate via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Google Assistant. Juliet was able to handle the major rise in customer questions during COVID-19 with quick answers.
3. Edwardian Hotel (SMS travel chatbot)
Edwardian Hotels launched Edward – a travel AI chatbot that operates primarily through SMS. While staying at their hotels, you can text Edward to ask him anything about hotel amenities, ordering room service, local directions, and more.
Building a travel chatbot
Want to add a travel chatbot to your website? If you’re looking to improve your customer experience, then this is a great option. For example check out how to add a chatbot to your website with Trengo in 5 easy steps here.
Now that you are - hopefully - excited about adding a chatbot to your website, it is time to help you get started. Trengo can help you add a chatbot to your website in five easy steps.
- Request the chatbot
- Configure the chatbot
- Train the chatbot
- Test the chatbot
- Celebrate your new team member
And, just remember, when designing your chatbot: start simple. You can always add more customisations and automations later on. Focus on the user experience first and foremost.
The future of travel chatbots
Travel chatbots have been around for years. But, they’re quickly improving and have become a staple for businesses looking to improve their customer support.
Here are a few future trends in the travel chatbot industry:
- AI and travel will become one: with advancements in AI technology and machine learning, chatbots will continue to advance in their ability to “think” like a human, allowing them to offer even more valuable information and solutions to customers.
- Increased user adoption: travel sites without a chatbot are going to fall behind. Travel chatbots are advancing quickly and businesses will have to rely on them to provide superior support.
- They’ll get easier to integrate (and use): while leveraging a robust chatbot used to require extensive programming knowledge, the software is getting much easier to use (plug-and-play solution) to ensure any travel businesses can add one into their current tech stack.
Adopt travel bot technology for superior service
People expect a lot when travelling, and you want to meet those expectations. To provide a customer experience that goes above and beyond, travel and tourism businesses will need to invest even more on chatbots.
Travel chatbots help businesses provide 24/7 support, instant solutions, and a more personalised experience that will delight your customers with every trip.