Implement a chatbot to grow bookings for tourism businesses

7 Jan 2019     |    Ricki Hudson

Have you ever gone to a website and had an instant message pop up, asking you if you needed assistance? You’ve probably found this to be a convenient way to reach out to the brand and get the answers that you need. This feature is called a chatbot — it’s an automatic messaging system that delivers unique and customized results to customers. Chatbots may seem like the type of technology that only the largest corporations and brands can afford to implement, but the reality is they are completely within reach of small business owners — including tour and activity operators. Here’s what you need to know before you implement a chatbot to grow bookings for tourism businesses like yours:

Chatbots and the tour and activity industry

Chatbots are the ideal technology for tour and activity operators, largely because many travelers have questions about tour products and availability before they finalize their bookings. In addition, tour operators have an international customer base — it’s impossible for you to be available to answer questions instantaneously at every time of the day, across all time zones.

A chatbot can become your best customer service representative, when implemented properly. As a small business owner who likely is not an expert in coding and website development, it may not be the best time to start creating your own chatbot. Rather, rely on a chatbot program that offers support services so that you can easily implement a chatbot onto your existing website without the headache of trying to code your own.

How you can use chatbots to grow bookings for tourism operators

  • You can program your chatbot to answer simple yet necessary questions about your brand. An online visitor from the other side of the world can inquire about the age restrictions for a particular experience, or ask about your availability, without waiting for an e-mail response or a comment on social media. The chatbot delivers them the answers they need immediately, which allows them to take the next step in their online booking journey.
  • Your chatbot has instant access to your customers, and can collect the big data that you need to better understand your online audience. Collect this data and review it frequently, so that you know more about the demographics who are most interested in your brand.
  • As your chatbot delivers customized answers to any question, it will serve as a valuable tool and resource for all prospective travelers who are looking into your brand. This, in turn, will have a direct impact on customer loyalty. They will feel that you are an accessible brand, and they will be more likely to recommend your tours and activities to their friends, family members and social followers. Ultimately, your chatbot will help you increase conversions and boost your online visibility.

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Image credit: Lukas