“Mobile messaging has long been a popular way for people to connect with friends and family, and in recent years consumers have increasingly turned to messaging to interact with travel brands of all types, from airlines and train lines to hotels and resorts. Now, with the COVID-19 outbreak affecting people and businesses across the globe, we've seen the messaging volume grow even more. In many of the countries hit hardest by the virus, total messaging increased by more than 50 per cent in March.” - Meta
After years of living with travel restrictions, dashing long-held dreams and keeping families apart, people are now taking advantage of the ability to move around freely again. In fact, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA), the total demand for air travel in April 2022 was up 78.7% compared with April 2021, with a slight advantage over March 2022 at 76% for year-on-year increase. Travel is booming, which means airlines need to become more innovative in travel solutions, finding better ways to connect and communicate with passengers. The simple solution? Chat! It allows the sharing of airline updates - and all manner of other travel-related details – with both passengers and crew. Here's how easy travel can be with chat platforms.
“It’s been a familiar and infuriating story during the pandemic: Hours waiting for an agent only to have the call dropped. The ordeal of rescheduling canceled flights. Delayed refunds. What gives?” – New York Times
The sudden rise in travel demands - in what is almost a post-pandemic world - was even bigger than originally anticipated. This has placed a lot of strain on the airline industry where customer service agents are already working at maximum capacity, and constant queries related to delays, cancelations, and more are simply overwhelming staff. With funds already restricted, the best travel solution is integrating chat into passenger-airline communication.
- Marketing with bulk SMS
“…And before you rule out this marketing method as intrusive or spammy, one survey showed that over 50% of consumers prefer to communicate with businesses via text instead of the phone.” - Forbes
Marketing remains one of the most effective ways to secure new customers, while encouraging repeat business with previous customers. With bulk SMS messaging, WhatsApp Business, or other preferred messaging platforms, airlines can alert passengers to discounted flights, promotional travel packages, last-minute specials, and so much more. You can also use chatbots as an effective up- and cross-selling tool, suggesting additional services, selling promotional items or those connected to what they’re already researching.
- Communicating travel delays
According to Gartner, by 2025 ‘80% of customer service organizations will have abandoned native mobile apps in favour of messaging for a better customer experience’. For the travel industry, this is good news as it allows airlines to communicate any delays or cancelations in real-time with their passengers and crew, to avoid unnecessary costs and frustrations.
- 2-way SMS for queries
Chat providers can also offer airlines 2-way SMS services, which allow passengers to direct queries directly to customer service agents via a chatbot or live chat feature. Using a chatbot, airlines can provide travelers with information related to frequently asked questions, travel tips and advice, updated travel information, and more. This is also useful for travelers who require information on alternative flights, lost baggage, gate information, and other travel-related queries.
- Check-in via chat
Passengers don’t have to worry about losing their boarding passes as check-in can happen simply and easily via the chat platform. Using chatbots, check-in is much simpler, more pleasant, and inherently faster than having to go to a counter. Passengers can also receive airline updates, such as flight or gate changes, once they’ve checked in.
- Tracking flights
No longer will passengers have to search for flights and times using search engines, they can simply type in a query into the chatbot which will start up a conversation that recommends available flights, costs, and relevant times. The passenger can then be directed to the bookings page and keep updated on any changes to the flight, as well as any other relevant information that passengers need to be notified of ahead of time. The crew, as well, will be notified of any changes so that they’re not wasting valuable time.
- Lost luggage
One of the biggest fears – and too often a reality – is when baggage gets lost en route to one’s destination. However, this is not a problem with live chat platforms as the passenger can immediately notify the airline about the luggage while receiving regular notifications about where it is and when it is due to arrive. This drastically minimizes the frustration associated with the lost luggage and keeps the passenger-airline relationship on a stronger footing.
- Special requests
Special needs travelers now have the option of communicating directly with the airline ahead of travel to alert them to any particular requirements. The chatbot can automate requests and a live airline agent can pick up the conversation where needs are particularly specialized. This ensures the airline is providing an inclusive and comfortable experience for all passengers.
- Reimbursing canceled flights
When a flight is canceled and an alternative one cannot be arranged in time because of poor weather conditions or other restrictions, then airlines need to arrange to have the payment reimbursed. By connecting on a chat platform, the passenger will be immediately notified about payment terms and procedures, so they’re not left even more irate after the flight cancelation.
- Aircraft information
Modern passengers want to be informed about the state of their aircraft for increased safety and security. Using chatbots, passengers and crew can easily learn more about the type of aircraft, its safety features, the last time it was serviced, and any other relevant information to ease anxiety about the journey.
By providing ongoing updates with passenger and crew, airlines are improving their service offering substantially. Crew are informed about what’s happening and can relay this to passengers, while passengers are kept updated via the platform on any flight changes. Clickatell offers the ultimate travel solutions through its chat platforms. Contact Clickatell today to find out how you can go the extra mile!
SMS and two-way channels, automation, call center integration, payments - do it all with Clickatell's Chat Commerce platform.