Travel agencies need to be prepared when the industry opens up again. We discuss the customer engagement strategies they can use with the help of conversational AI.
Travel agencies can revive their journey and boost customer engagement with the help of conversational AI. It lets them have an omnichannel presence with a touch of personalisation and security, at scale.
Let’s begin with what the industry went through last year.
Travel and Tourism is one of the biggest industries in India. Statista estimates its contribution to Indian GDP at 247 billion dollars and expects it to double in the coming years.
Similarly, the Middle East emerged as a global hub for tourism and leisure over the last decade.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this upward trend for both these regions and devastated the entire travel industry. But with easing restrictions now, the industry is expected to revive soon.
Suggested Watching: Business Continuity in Pandemic – An OTA Webinar
However, to get things back to the pre-COVID level, the travel and tourism industry will have to be more forthcoming than before.
People miss the good old days when they could travel, stay, eat and party anywhere they wanted. Now that the vaccines are available, people want to do that again.
But they are cautious because of their first-hand experience of a pandemic. And they are not only scared but also have a lot of queries in their heads.
Travel agencies need to reach out to travellers and engage both smartly and empathetically to clear such doubts. Travel businesses would need to train their outreach employees accordingly, which can be challenging, especially for small businesses.
With an increasing number of customer queries and working with limited budgets, the available workforce might also prove inadequate.
Solution – conversational AI agent
A conversational AI solution, however, can solve these issues with high efficiency. A travel agency can communicate with its customers remotely (and personally), even with a resource crunch.
First, let’s talk about how conversational AI is one of the best ways to boost customer engagement with the potential to drive the tourism industry forward.
Suggested Reading: 4 ways voice AI is reimagining CX in travel, tourism, and hospitality
1. Stay connected
A conversational travel chatbot can share regular updates with a customer, providing them with valuable content.
With the lack of information, customers are looking for data that can help them plan better. You can stay connected with your customer base by letting them know that the restaurant, the hotel, or the travel agency they used the last time is still operational and ready to serve them any day.
The conversational bots can even be used to send informational articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It can inform people about the vaccination drives, efficacies of vaccines and businesses adhering to the COVID-19 restriction norms.
This will help in curbing any misinformation and help them make informed choices without any fear.
You can also share information on countries where they can travel to or encourage local tourism. All these features, in one way or another, help us engage meaningfully with our customers.
Be regular –this is the first of the customer engagement strategies that businesses need to learn.
2. Use multimedia to inspire
One of the most important strategies to boost customer engagement in the travel industry is to inspire them to travel again. And what better way than to use images and videos.
With the help of conversational chatbots, your travel agency can share updates using multimedia in the form of images, videos, gifs, PDFs, audio messages, etc.
Such message types can even keep up the discussions for a longer duration of time and with multiple customers at a single time.
Multimedia messages serve as good examples of customer engagement.
3. Be present to answer questions
As a travel agency, you must have wondered what are the ways to strengthen customer service? A simple answer is to be present for your customers all the time and across channels.
A sure-fire method to improve travel customer experience is answering customer questions 24×7. Given this industry’s nature, timings and language barriers shouldn’t hold your business back.
A conversational AI never sleeps, is present on multiple channels (including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger) and can be set to answer up 80% of commonly asked questions in multiple languages, 24×7.
Giving customer attention in the travel industry pays off in the long run. Having an omnichannel presence, that is, being available on multiple platforms and carrying forward the context in each channel, you build strong relationships with your customers.
4. Personalise messaging
It is difficult to deny if someone offers you something that’s your favourite. AI-enabled bots can actually create a centralised customer profile and keep sending them recommendations based on their likings.
Their favourite food, favourite travelling spots and personalised offers will eventually make them cross the threshold they need to travel again.
On the other hand, a conversational chatbot can also understand the customer’s real intent behind their question, read their mood and respond accordingly. This can make the customers more comfortable in sharing their concerns with the company.
AI keeps evolving with people’s emerging preferences. Thus they always know the customer’s interests. This makes them one of the best tools to boost customer engagement.
Suggested read: How Instagram’s Messenger API will Change Travel Support
Why is customer engagement important to improve travel?
Engaging with customers helps businesses establish a relationship of trust between the two parties. Customers start feeling that they are important to the organisation as well. This eventually makes them loyal to the brand.
Currently, people are so cautious that any information provided only by an entity they trust is more likely to inspire them to act.
Suggested Listening: Travel in the Age of COVID-19 with Joy Ghose (Headout)
They are more likely to come out of their houses if someone they trust tells them that their safety will be ensured. And such confidence in the sincerity of a business to keep its customers safe is the only way to increase travel in the current scenario.
Keeping in touch with customers is the key. That is why businesses should always be working on improving their strategies to boost customer engagement.
A conversational AI is one such strategy and definitely an effective one. The only challenge is to get a conversational AI that delivers what it promises—something verloop.io has been doing for quite some time now.
Talk to our conversational AI experts to understand how your travel agency can deliver a delightful travel experience.