Travel Bots Are On the Rise In 2017
The future is here, and, as you might have expected, it’s robots. Travel bots have been in development for some time, and they’re starting to pick up momentum. OTAs and MetaSearch channels like Expedia and Skyscanner are the ones currently developing travel bots, due to the expense of developing emerging technology.
However, there are signs that travel bots will be achievable for hotels in future. Hyatt, which began using Facebook Messenger in November 2015 to answer guests’ queries, has said that they are interested in developing their own travel bot down the line.
Other big news this week includes hotels using more location-based services to better interact with guests (to recommend a restaurant near them, for example). While most guests like the features, there are also privacy concerns. We’ve also included few predictions of what else technology will bring to hotels in the new year.
Microsoft today announced that Expedia and Language Learning bots are coming soon to all Skype platforms. With this new Expedia bot, users can search for hotels, quickly book, manage reservations, and confirm or cancel hotels and flights. If you are not satisfied with the answer you got from the bot, you can directly call Expedia, free of charge.
Travel companies are among the most active in the chatbots arena, with many bots already released on Facebook Messenger Bot Store. In this post we look at the current state of the art reviewing Expedia, Hipmunk, Skyscanner, Cheapflights, and Kayak bots. For each bot, we analyse 6 features:
- Capabilities: what can the bot do?
- Onboarding: how does the bot introduce itself?
- Flow: is there a free flow conversation or a predefined list of questions (ping pong conversation)?
- Results: how are search results presented?
- Natural language understanding: how good is the bot at understanding user input?
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of all hotels and resorts in a recent survey said they plan to implement location-based technologies within the next year, similar to how Hilton and Marriott have done so previously.
Zebra Technologies conducted the survey of nearly 1,200 hotels as part of its 2016 Hospitality Vision Study. They also surveyed more than 1,680 hotel guests from around the world, 73 percent of which were aged 18 to 49.
Hoteliers’ interest in geolocation-based technologies says they’re taking personalization and guest recognition seriously. This is good, especially since it can have a direct impact on their bottom lines.
The growing influence and accessibility of new and innovative technology solutions are changing the way hotels do business. With myriad applications available to them, owners are thinking differently about the tools they need to be successful.
As 2017 approaches—and New Year’s resolutions are set—there are key trends hoteliers must capitalize on to be prosperous in the coming months. Cloud platforms, personalized loyalty strategies, and shifts in the mobile landscape are among the most critical tech trends to follow.