New eBook: Conversational AI: The Key To Four-Star Service, Five-Star Reviews, And Bigger Profits in Travel

Written by Can Ozdoruk on Sep 19, 2019

Customers won’t wait, even 10 seconds, for a response. AI helps travel companies provide a better service that consumers expect today.

Modern consumers are less patient. They want personalized information with little effort. And, they are less loyal today than they have ever been.

Customer service is now tied directly with a company’s bottom line – it’s a fundamental driver of where people spend their money and is how companies differentiate in an industry which used to be ruled by loyalty programs. To meet consumer’s quick-rising demands, travel and hospitality companies need to adopt conversational AI to automatically resolve customer issues.

The Rise of AI in Travel 

Conversational AI agents are rapidly becoming table stakes for any travel brand that hopes to keep up with customer expectations. Based on a recent SITA survey, 68% of airlines planned to implement some version of AI as part of customer service interactions. The reasons for this trend are obvious.

  • Travel and hospitality brands can save billions of dollars in customer service costs by diverting easy to answer queries to a travel chatbot or other AI systems.
  • These brands can leverage AI as part of the customer support process to actually boost revenues and drive profits.
  • T&H brands can reduce agent churn by reducing their workload and allowing agents to perform more fulfilling work that involves emotional connections and higher-order thinking and problem-solving.
  • Customer service channels are now omnichannel and must operate 24/7. This increases the overall demand for customer service and mandates more scalable solutions.

Why Conversational AI Matters So Much Right Now

There is a combination of factors that have elevated the importance of Conversational AI to travel and hospitality companies, including:

  • Text is the most popular communications channel: Great customer experience must meet customers in the mediums where they are most comfortable. Text-based communications have exploded to dominate all communication.
  • Immediate responses, 24/7, are expected by consumers: 90% of customers consider an immediate response to be important for customer service queries. This is simply not possible with human agents and in an industry like travel and hospitality, where major service outages due to weather or other problems, are common.
  • Conversational AI is directly connected to the Internet and the world of apps: Conversational AI systems can pull in data from a variety of sources, empowering better personalization and localization. This, in turn, drives loyalty and revenue growth.

Use Cases For Conversational AI in Travel

There are two key levels of use cases for Conversational AI in travel. First, AI can take over repetitive tasks previously handled by agents. AI will also orchestrate wider and more complex interactions over time.

  • Taking Over Core Repetitive Tasks: In travel and hospitality, there is a high volume of repeatable queries. AI can respond to these in seconds. Examples include checking on flight status and arrival, changing flights, and making a purchase of a hotel room.
  • AI Performs More Complex and Proactive Tasks: As Conversational AI grows more knowledgeable, it’s able to conduct more complex tasks. AI will have the ability to become proactive and potentially revenue-enhancing. Virtual agents will also work with live agents in the background to augment their work.

Conversational AI represents a tectonic shift in how customers interact with brands, providing massive opportunities for travel and hospitality to reestablish their customer experience leadership. If you want to learn more about AI in travel, download our detailed analysis here.