How Chatbots Will Transform the Travel Industry
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Technology is all set to transform the new age traveller experience. Meet the connected traveller, seeking instant responses, always impatient and ever demanding, always on the go. Digitally savvy, these travellers are growing fast, stimulating huge demand in the tourism industry. Their travel search planning begins with googling and ends with online agencies. Enticing these travellers put enormous pressure as the industry struggles to come up with innovative solutions to fulfil their needs.
This is What the Studies Show
Research studies indicate that travellers visit scores of sites for planning their trips, gleaning for real-time info that matters, going through a tiring filtration of content to find best-fit travel plan. This reflects the acute need for personalized solutions and a streamlined travel experience. Leveraging cognitive technologies like chatbots have immense potential to provide seamless, personalized user experience, helping the travel industry to scale horizons.
Innovations Making it Better Every Day
Industry is getting better in simulating human-like conversation, chatbots are computer software that mimic the way humans interact offering a lot of benefits when integrated into travel businesses. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, chatbots should help travellers avoid tiresome planning and simplify bookings, while boosting business for the travel ecosystem. Helping tourists make the right choices based on their schedule, budget, and other preferences with their intelligent conversations with chatbots is refreshing for the new age travellers as a personalized tool, while also empowering travel agencies, hotel services, and other indirect businesses.
Significantly, using AI, ML, and Natural Language Processing, the chatbots are evolving as a key peg of the digital experience strategy of travel ecosystem. And, they are only getting smarter, becoming more autonomous, and self-learning - discovering new patterns and value for helping travellers find right info at right time. We are witnessing growing industry demand for platform agnostic chatbots that are easy to integrate, scalable, secure, and reliable. What travel ecosystem needs is a simple, pervasive technology that delivers voice-enabled auto suggestions, error free diction support, and live dashboards to review, share feedback and metrics.
Riding on the mobility wave and increased Internet penetration, they will soon be getting popular in India and abroad owing to easy integration across products and portals, quick responses, accuracy of information, instant responses and 24/7 availability.
The augurs well for the Indian tourism and hospitality industry – a key driver of growth among the services sector with nearly 1.6 billion domestic tourists, 10.1 million foreign tourists arrivals and 9.6 percent contribution to the GDP. This is significant, as tourism is a great source of foreign exchange and expected to generate 52.3 million jobs by 2028. During January-October 2018 FEEs from tourism increased 8.30 per cent year-on-year to US$ 23.54 billion.
Robust government policies and young demography are also transforming India into one of the most digitally-advanced traveller nation in terms of digital tools being used for planning, booking and experiencing a journey. Besides, India’s rising middle class and increasing disposable incomes has continued to support the growth of domestic and outbound tourism.
There are many chatbot platforms from many big enterprises, however, chatbot as a service (CaaS) makes it easier, quicker and affordable for any portal to enhance customer experience by providing real-time and auto replies to their users’ queries.
A case in point is Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)’s Next Generation eTicketing System that serves millions of passenger everyday using a chatbot AskDISHA, built on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to provide auto response to hundreds of thousands of queries a day.
Automating handling of routine queries saves the precious time of customer service executives and allows them to focus on more complex issues. Since chatbots record each of their communication with the users, they offer real actionable insights and recommendation into customer experience, purchase history, and problems - bringing in a personal humane touch much awaited by the customers for a long time.
As more and more travellers are set to explore a hyper connected world, chatbots will prove a boon to travel agencies to deliver enriching experiential solutions to travellers. It means being there for the travellers each moment, helping them in each step with empathy, and fostering unforgettable memories. Time is ripe for navigating into the future. Are we ready?