Chatbots are not going to take over the world yet but solid use cases are emerging, according to speakers during the final day of the Travel Tech Show at WTM London. TourCMS founder Alex Bainbridge said he could see good use cases in the tours and activities sector such as bots answering queries when offices are not open but consumers are still booking tours.
He added that bots would work well for multi-day tours when most customers need to speak to an agent during some part of the process. “If we could narrow that down a little with bots we could probably sell twice as many tours.”
Sandro Cuzzolin, Senior Manager, Business Development, Amadeus Travel Audience, said that chat service Line is years ahead in terms of integration with shopping, taxi services and payments.
John Newbold, co-founder of digital experience agency 383, said companies need to cut through the hype and be specific about when and where bots should be used: “As with most things, the best bots will be built on strong specific use cases with good user experience.” He also provided five thoughts for bot design that include not assuming they will be right for everything and how effective they will become when they can chat to each other to deliver “blended useful information”.
He also highlighted that the challenge for big companies would be enabling bots to access data from their existing technology.
Other experts predicted that some of the established platforms, such as WeChat, are a safer bet than travel companies trying to implement proprietary systems.