Artificial Intelligence or AI as it is more commonly referred is the ability of a computer or a robot to do tasks that are normally done by humans and require human intelligence.AI usage in tourism and hotel management is not something new, many large and small hotel chains and standalone establishments have resorted to using AI to automate inquiry handling, complaint resolution, and even doing bookings. One of the most common uses of AI in tourism is in chatbots.

What’s an AI Chatbot?

AI chatbots which belongs to the Conversational AI category , can understand a customer query through machine learning and natural language processing (NLP). What this means is that a tourism establishment can have chatbots set up on their website, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook to respond to customers’ queries 24/7. This in turn reduces the workforce requirements to have a 24/7 presence online, which in turn reduces the overhead costs while increasing customer response rates, satisfaction, and driving direct bookings.

The industry is gearing up to implement chatbots to increase productivity

It is a fact, that this is the age of technology, people are born and grow into technology. This makes people more comfortable communicating through technology platforms than any other method. AI chatbots enable seamless connectivity with your customers no matter the time or geographical location. With available data, AI chatbots can process customers from an initial query to check-in, check-out, and after-sales upsell recommendations as well. Here’s a useful statistic, a recent study conducted by Salesforce has shown that “53% of service organizations expect to use chatbots within 18 months”. This statistic shows that the industry is gearing up to implement chatbots to increase productivity and have a 24/7 communication line for their customers. With easy-to-use technology people’s expectations of round-the-clock support are the norm in travel and hospitality businesses.

“Once a customer has a personalized experience, they are 44% more likely to become a repeat buyer.” Econsultancy

Around-the-clock service for your target audience is going to elevate their satisfaction levels and increase their loyalty to your brand. There are many similar options out there and responsiveness is what wins customers and loyalty with your target audience is built through a reliable channel and always-there experience. If your audience can get a hold of your reservations or support services at any time, the hardest part of building loyalty is completed. The AI chatbot can process inquiries, bookings, and payments far faster than a human being, no matter how long they have been trained, and it makes the interaction with the business a fairly simple time-saving experience. With this self-service solution, the average of converting prospects to customers increases substantially. And if there’s an instance where the bot is unable to provide an answer or solution it can immediately escalate it to an available human agent and prevent the prospect from needing to close the chat or go to another page to contact a human agent. Where there is no agent available the inquiry is not lost as a centralized inbox captures these and queues it up for processing.

AI chatbots are not just there to resolve queries and answer questions, they can be used to collect data and feedback which provides the company with valuable market research. The same data can be used to improve chatbot performance and provide even more tailored recommendations.

As we have seen, chatbots bring multiple benefits to the tourism business such as 24x7 availability, fast response times, saved user interaction history, and a consistent user experience.  Helping travelers find the right information at the right time, eliminate planning hassles, and simplify bookings to provide users with a seamless, hassle-free experience and build brand loyalty. By automating some tasks, your business can also focus on other areas, such as analyzing new travel trends, developing plans to increase repeat business, and leveraging loyalty for future travel offers.

Chatbots with an omnichannel presence and more importantly with AI is the new customer service face of any business in the travel and tourism industry. Companies that can provide a seamless and always-on experience for their customers have a higher chance of establishing a loyal customer base.