Technology

Webjet’s rising consumer engagement rivals agents

Daisy Doctor

Online travel agency (OTA) Webjet has experienced rapid growth in consumer engagement, having launched a new in-app mobile messaging service.

Powered by LivePerson, the in-app messenger has boosted the OTA’s customer service business, resulting in a 54 per cent uplift in text-based service engagements.

The messaging service allows customers to communicate with the brand, and given the usage of Webjet’s app is building daily, could suggest added pressure to traditional agents.

Webjet’s Country Manager David Galt said, “The move to offer in-app messaging expands the way customers can engage with Webjet from our existing voice, email and chat contact channels.

“Mobile messaging provides an additional avenue for us to have conversations with customers at their convenience.”

“Our customers can now resolve issues and get their questions answered on their own time through a channel they are already comfortable with,” Galt continued.

The messaging platform enables consumers to communicate directly to the OTA and allows for multiple conversations to take place over time within one message thread.

It also seeks to reduce the inconvenience and frustration of being placed on hold, as wait times are replaced by push notifications.

Andrew Cannington LivePerson’s regional VP, APAC, said that the company is proud to partner with Webjet to deliver on better customer experiences for its travellers.

“LivePerson has been at the forefront of digital consumer engagements, first with web chat and now with conversational interfaces, such as messaging, through our LiveEngage platform,” said Cannington.

“Consumers have largely moved away from traditional voice-based communication and with the launch of Webjet’s in-app mobile messaging, we believe a new precedent will be set for travel companies, making mobile messaging the new norm,” he added.

Webjet has had an extremely successful year in 2017, and this news follows TC boss Fred van Eijk recently stating, “Webjet is certainly a threat to agents” just a few weeks ago.

The OTA is a specific threat, van Eijk said, to agents “who remain to be transactional and fail to bring the extra value to their customers”.

In late November, Webjet Managing Director John Guscic said the company was the number one OTA and had become a “global leader” in B2B space.

“Webjet continues to gain share as the #1 online travel agent in Australia and New Zealand.”

“With flight bookings growing more than six times the underlying market during the year,” he added.

Guscic pinned the growth on the OTA’s ability to help travellers better than ever before.

All comes off the back of Webjet’s announcement in August which showed a net profit after tax of $52 million for the 2017 financial year, a jump of 146 per cent on last year.

As well as this, revenue scooped a 52 per cent increase to hit $234.9 million.

The ongoing growth of the Webjet OTA business was boosted by flight bookings growing at more than six times the underlying market.

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