Last week I was invited to a private roundtable with Mark Zuckerberg at Rome’s Town Hall event where I learnt a great deal about how Facebook can help businesses in the travel sector. Here are some of the key points which I’d like to share with you.

BSB Messenger

The immediacy of interaction it provides, especially for SMB business, is increasingly valuable to the travel sector.

Traditionally, we’re used to email but this method of communication brings with it issues such as slowness, spam and poor service. Email isn’t ideal, especially for tour guides or concierges who work outside of offices and who really need to keep informed in real time.

With efficiency in mind, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp will increasingly replace email and organisational systems and processes traditionally attached to email, such as storage, tag, to-do, advance search and attachments will all become features of the aforementioned tools.

B2C Messenger

For travel industry customers, the messenger will become increasingly vital due to its ability to provide immediacy of contact and exchange of information.

Think of all the possibilities for us – you could send vouchers or booking confirmations, facilitate online purchases directly on the Facebook Messenger and perhaps even have them stored in a virtual wallet that works cross-device, cross-platform and avoids the issue of spam. Very exciting!

Bot Chat

One of the trends of recent months, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithm will be increasingly used by the travel industry to improve engagement with customers, understand their needs and guide them in their choices. It will also help travel companies to penetrate new markets and scale much faster thanks in part to its multilingual quality.

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