Conversational commerce (chatbots) may be in its infancy but now is the time understand how it fits into your digital strategy
With social media came the dismantling of the wall between travel companies and their customers. While it took time for people to completely drop their guard on social media, today customers are more comfortable than ever in this environment, and the rise of people using messaging services bears witness to this.
By August 2015 at least 2.5 billion people were using at least messaging app, according to Statista, a number that’s expected to grow to 3.6 billion by 2018. Recognising that they need to be where their customers are, a number of companies have started to strategically align themselves with messaging services, most commonly Facebook Messenger.
Some are also experimenting with chatbots.
As EyeforTravel MD Tim Gunstone puts it: “We are seeing many travel brands tapping into the power of messenger apps. Conversational commerce is going to be huge”.
There is certainly enough hype around many firms are racing just to get something launched in order to say they have joined the chatbots game. Mike Slone, chief experience officer at tech firm Travelaer, admits that, “we were guilty of this too, as we think it is an exciting space.”
Here Slone, who will be speaking at EyeforTravel Europe 2017 in May next year, shares some helpful dos and don’ts for travel brands embarking on a conversational commerce strategy.
Words of Warning
Don’t get too caught up in the hype:
Instead first take a step back and look at how chatbots fit into your overall digital strategy. Try observing existing user behaviour via Messenger and other one-on-one conversational channels before deciding to launch a bot.
This is a great place to set a strategic baseline for how customers are already communicating. Firms that really identify the customer’s pain points and need will have a much better chance of success.