6 use cases every online travel company should automate with chatbots

Feb 3, 2020
Bonnie Bailly
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Even with all the improvements in travel technology, online travel agencies and travel management companies still struggle to efficiently scale their customer support efforts while providing the experience their customers expect.

AI chatbots for travel agencies and travel management companies are an underutilized solution to these challenges. While many online travel companies have dabbled with chatbots, few really understand the improvements in customer experience and ROI they are capable of bringing.

From drastically cutting down the number of calls your call centers receive, to automatically refunding your passengers’ tickets and inspiring their next trip, travel chatbots that are pre-trained on your industry-specific use cases can immediately become mission-critical to your business.

As a leader in conversational AI for the travel industry, Mindsay has identified the use cases that OTAs and TMCs encounter most often. Here are six scenarios that every online travel company should be automating with a travel chatbot:

#1: Flight Availability

Searching for flights on travel sites is often a painful, confusing process, but it doesn’t have to be. Chatbots can automate this part of the planning process for every OTA or TMC. The traveler simply needs to tell the bot their travel dates and departure and arrival cities. The chatbot will then connect with the company’s GDS via an API to quickly display flight options. The chatbot can also filter the flights by price, shortest route, and earliest arrival time.

Flight Availability with a Bot

#2: Fare Components

Before purchasing a flight, travelers will undoubtedly want to know what the fare includes. A chatbot can easily deliver the details of each fare, including things like class, luggage allowances, meals, and more. The more relevant information you can provide to your travelers, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

Flight Details from Bot

#3: Booking Cancellation

Even if a flight or hotel booking cancellation needs to be approved by a human agent, a chatbot can do a lot of the pre-qualification work to save your agents’ time. The bot will first ask for the booking number and name on the reservation. After connecting to the GDS, the chatbot can then present the traveler with the trip segment(s) that is eligible for cancellation. Once the traveler confirms the segment they want to cancel, a human agent will have all of the information they need to proceed with the final cancellation.

Booking Cancellation Through a Bot

#4: Change Flight Date

Changing flight dates is often a pain for travelers and a burden to many TMC and OTA support centers. Similar to the booking cancellation example, travel chatbots can pre-qualify a traveler’s request so that a human agent can quickly approve the change.

#5: Baggage Information

Having your customers comb through FAQs for information about baggage allowances isn’t the best experience. Chatbots can easily provide customers with all the baggage allowance information they need, from the number and size of bags included in their fare to the price of adding additional luggage.

#6: Modify Booking Information

As we’ve seen in previous examples, chatbots can be connected with a company’s GDS. This allows bots to automatically update a traveler’s booking information using their PNR. 

Let’s say John wants to update the email address associated with his booking. He can make the change through a chatbot in seconds:

Modifying Booking with a Bot

It’s also possible to modify other information, like first and last name. However, this is often not allowed by airlines or hotels, unfortunately. 

While this is just the tip of the iceberg for what’s possible with a travel chatbot, these trip planning and post-booking use cases are likely causing a lot of pain for you and your customers. As an OTA or TMC, you also shouldn’t forget about the “dreaming” phase of the customer lifecycle. You can and should use bots to deliver inspiring content to your travelers. While FAQ and customer support chatbots are a huge value add to your business, comprehensive customer experience chatbots are the next level.

Mindsay’s customer experience automation platform allows you to build chatbots that are pre-trained to handle travel use cases. Our bots can be launched quickly and seamlessly integrate with the systems that are vital to your business, including GDS’ and customer support platforms like Zendesk and Salesforce. 

Our team would be delighted to give you a demo of a chatbot customized for your business.

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