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Despite inflationary pressures and global tensions, Americans are determined to enjoy their Summer holidays, with a survey from The Vacationer reporting that 80% are planning on traveling this summer, with 45% saying they planned to travel more than once.
These numbers will be music to the ears of the travel industry who will be looking to make up for lost Covid revenue. But with disposable income under more pressure than ever, travelers will be hunting for the best deals around and competition will be fierce to capture every available dollar.
For businesses in the travel sector, from airlines to hotels, casinos and entertainment venues, finding ways to ensure a top notch customer experience must be their number one priority.
Fortunately, the answer to delighting customers is in their own hands.
The pent up demand for travel along with staffing shortages have already cast a pall over the 2022 Summer holidays, with the Washington Post describing airports in June as The Wild West. Cancellations and last minute changes are often unavoidable, but the fact remains that passengers don’t care where the problem lies, their perception is that the airline is the one to have made their lives miserable.
The only way to manage this is constant communication and chat platforms are the most effective channel to handle this.
By offering text-based flight information including booking confirmations, check-in notifications, boarding passes, flight changes and updates, passengers are kept informed and better able to plan their lives. Keeping people away from the airport if they don’t need to be there and making sure they are at the right place at the right time to board reduces queues and lowers tempers.
Travelers must be able to check their phones at any time and access what they need. And, while push-based notifications via SMS and chat platforms are essential, allowing passengers access to a self-service offering to check every variable of their journey, puts them in control of their travel experience.
Engaging with passengers via chat at the start of their journey introduces them to the channel and opens up a two-way communication option that offers big returns.
Upselling over a known and trusted chat channel, like WhatsApp, is as simple as a quick text message. Once bookings are confirmed, travel agents and airlines can offer seat upgrades and even suggest places to stay at the specific destination, complete with special offers and promotions that passengers can take advantage of right then and there. By using Chat 2 Pay, consumers can complete a travel related purchase within their favorite messaging channel through a secure link. Now, boosting the average revenue per passenger is a click away.
The use of chatbots in the booking phase have been warmly welcomed by travelers and some of the smarter AI bots can make excellent suggestions, cutting down on endless search time. In fact, a survey found that 87% of users would interact with a travel chatbot if it could save them both time and money, and a significant 37% would actually prefer to use a bot rather than engage with a human.
Once at their destination, travelers will be in the mood to unwind and begin their journey of discovery. Smart travel businesses can use this time to check in with their customer to make sure all has gone smoothly, and then use the opportunity to suggest some places to go and sights to see, even offering tailored specials that can be booked and paid for in the same channel, once again using Chat 2 Pay.
A great example of how effective chat can be for hospitality businesses is the engaging Rose, the AI bot or “Resident Mischief-Maker and Digital Concierge” of the hotel Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Complete with an intriguing backstory, Rose helps guests with restaurant recommendations and bookings, secures spa treatments, event and tour tickets and even answers questions about various hotel services. According to the hotel management, guests have genuinely bonded with Rose and those who engage with her spend upwards of 37% more than those who do not.
In a similar vein, London’s Edwardian hotel has Edward, the SMS AI chatbot, which makes every aspect of the customer experience self service including room selection, checking in and even querying and settling the bill. Edward is also a hit with the guests and is directly responsible for growing room service billing by 10 to 50%.
The ways chat solutions can be used in the travel and hospitality industry continue to grow. And, while each deployment is completely nuanced to each business, the common thread is that using text-based channels not only lowers traveler frustration through consistent, two-way communications, but is clearly demonstrating new ways to boost revenue at every touchpoint of the journey.
The best part is that Clickatell backs up their chat support with Clickatell Chat Desk, which is one of the most advanced digital contact center software solutions for live agents available. This means that you can rest easy knowing that your customers are in great hands, from when they first plan their journey, to sharing their fabulous memories with family and friends.
Explore the benefits of boosting your brand experience with proven tactics that are guaranteed to have your business soaring to success in our latest Messaging and Chat Use Case Guide for Travel here.
SMS and two-way channels, automation, call center integration, payments - do it all with Clickatell's Chat Commerce platform.