Technology

Opinion: Why conversational commerce is integral to travel

Andrew Cannington

Travelling is exciting, but it’s also daunting. Tourists rely on quick access to information to guide them and give advice, often in strange time zones or with time sensitivity.

It is therefore imperative that industry players wanting to build relationships with travellers offer seamless and efficient channels through which they can make queries.

E-commerce and the website have failed the travel industry

In this way, traditional e-commerce and websites have failed the travel industry; they are impersonal and slow.

Websites force travellers to find and read static pages, which are often out-of-date, to get answers. Often, travellers can’t find what they’re looking for and have to call to get up-to-date information.

An email function with a two business day response time is no longer acceptable, nor is the option of calling.

Travellers want answers—and they want them now. People want to ask questions and get help and they value one-on-one interactions with an expert.

Enter conversational commerce.

Conversational commerce is shifting the travel industry from one that puts the burden on the consumer to self-serve to one that is instant, interactive and personalised.

So, what is conversational commerce?

Conversational commerce is the ability for consumers to communicate with brands through natural language conversations, using digital channels they know and feel comfortable with such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or the native messaging app on their phone.

Conversational commerce allows the use of natural language to buy things or query a service at any point in the customer journey. This is achieved through the use of bots in conjunction with humans, allowing a brand to have conversations with its customers at scale.

Think about the disruption caused by an A380 being grounded. Hundreds of passengers are left with flow-on connections, accommodation, and activities that need to be altered or rescheduled. How can an airline cope with the vast and complicated requirements to communicate and rebook each of these travellers?

The only manageable option combines mobile, automation, and artificial intelligence.

Travel companies are moving to conversational commerce in droves, realising that it improves travellers’ experiences by allowing them to respond to texts at their leisure, rather than call or queue at an information desk.

Similarly, airlines and agents can sell tickets and help travellers make reservations directly in messaging channels they already use, every day.

Many of the travel companies that we work with have deployed bots that can browse flights, hotel rooms and car rentals, retrieve pricing information, provide discount codes and answer FAQs. This frees up agents to focus on high-value and more complex requests.

As a result, LivePerson’s travel customers that have transitioned to conversational commerce have experienced on average a 95 per cent peak in customer satisfaction.

For instance, since embracing messaging as part of its customer service strategy, Virgin Atlantic’s CSAT score has climbed to 95 per cent and 20 per cent is the average growth in the number of calls shifted to messaging week-on-week.

The business benefits of going conversational

Conversational commerce improves more than just customer satisfaction. It is being adopted by leading travel companies because it also enhances employee productivity and increases sales conversion, benefitting a company’s top and bottom lines.

Most importantly, positive customer experience ultimately leads to more loyal customers, which is every brand’s end game.

Conversational commerce is the key to bridging the gap between average and outstanding customer experience, particularly in the travel industry. With conversational commerce, brands can create a cohesive and communicative exchange that enhances the travel experience.

Andrew Cannington is the APAC General Manager of LivePerson

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Destinations

The Amazon is on fire and tourism stands to lose because of it, Poon Tip warns

by Christian Fleetwood

The G Adventures founder has put out a warning to the travel industry about the devastation occurring in the Amazon.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

All the photos from the 2019 TravelManagers Gala Awards

Travel Weekly has finally managed to get its hands on all the pics from the 2019 TravelManagers Gala Awards for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Marriott employee arrested for threatening “mass casualty” shooting at hotel

A Marriott staffer’s planned mass shooting, which he told fellow employees about, has been foiled by local police thanks to the hotel’s general manager.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Joyce says Qantas will cut capacity on Hong Kong flights due to ongoing protests

by Christian Fleetwood

Qantas’ bookings to Hong Kong are down 10 per cent amid the ongoing pro-democracy protests, forcing the airline to cull capacity.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent wrap: Travellers Choice ramps up member mentoring, A&K hosts top agents at Connoisseur Club + MORE

It’s Friday, which means two things: Travel Weekly’s agent wrap has arrived, and our editor has already made his way to the pub.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airport worker fired for passing passenger rude note

Do you miss passing strange and confusing notes to your friends in high school? Click here to have your thirst quenched.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Branson-owned island’s new GM, fresh cruise BDMs + MORE

This edition of FOTW is filled with appointments of GMs, BDMs, and ECPs, FYI.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Tourists facing up to six years in jail for stealing sand

The couple was caught with 40 kilograms of sand, which they reportedly tried to pass off as a “souvenir”. Nice try, guys.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin Australia helps Kiwi prank sister with small bearded man

The airline got in on a prank between two sisters that was 30 years in the making. Watch how it unfolded here.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

ONE WEEK TO GO: Entries to The Travel Awards 2019 closing soon!

There have already been reports of broken keyboards and mouses at several travel companies, such is the haste and urgency at which they’ve been submitting entries to The Travel Awards.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel wrap: Choice Asia-Pac’s new look, Accor Korea’s Sofitel in Seoul, Crown’s bad news + MORE!

Delightful, informative and neat around the edges – this is how to describe this week’s hotel wrap, and Travel Weekly’s reporter when he sucks in his love handles.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Webjet boss lauds “outstanding” FY19, as full-year profit jumps 45 per cent

by Huntley Mitchell

There’s a whole lot of jumping going on over at Webjet HQ today, both in a financial and celebratory sense.

Share

CommentComments