Chat apps - the future for travel websites

As communications giants have been telling us for years: it's good to talk. And with social messaging tipped to account for 2.5 billion global users by 2018, it seems like the world finally agrees.

From WhatsApp and Viber to Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, messaging apps have changed the way we communicate in the 21st century. In fact, travel industry trend-spotters, Skift.com, recently cited messaging as one of their 'megatrends' for 2016, and savvy travel brands looking to improve communication with their customers would do well to take note.

So, what's the appeal of chat apps? The major attraction of chat is that it blends the instant and convenient nature of messaging with the personalised service of speaking to a company representative in person. Customers that wish to liaise with a travel company can compose and dash off a message on the move from their mobile device yet receive a one-to-one personal response.

A number of major travel brands are already making their move in terms of incorporating chat into their customer relations. The Hyatt hotel group as well as airline members of Star Alliance, have utilised WeChat to interact with the Asian market whilst WhatsAHOY Travel, a new travel agency for frequent flyers, communicates with their clients solely via WhatsApp.

So, why should you consider introducing the power of the chat app to your travel company? A recent article published by the Digital Tourism Think Tank detailed how chat introduced in sales scenarios as a support to online self-service transactions has produced results of up to 30% higher conversion, while a report by Forrester Research has demonstrated that 44% of consumers consider instant online service as important. Clearly, consumers respond to chat and to having their queries dealt with in a timely manner.

However, providing instant chat as a way to communicate with clients is all well and good during office hours when you have your staff manning the system. What happens when a client needs assistance after hours? Last year, we addressed this issue with the launch of our Digital Trip Virtual Travel Assistant, a system which allows travel companies to offer 24/7 service by integrating with FAQs or destination information so that an answer to straightforward or common questions can be provided automatically.

Drop us a line to find out more information or to find out what other digital solutions we can provide for your travel business.