One of the best industries for chatbots is the travel and tourism industry. This is because the customer needs inspiration as well as customer service in the form of planning a trip. Also, choosing among different deals. A travel chatbot, then, is perfectly positioned to provide personalized service to meet these needs.
That said, there are a number of travel chatbot best practices that you’ll want to follow when designing a good tourism bot. Trip planning can be stressful. So, your travel bot must ensure the user experiences as little friction as possible on their journey. Before you release your bot into the wild, follow some of these tips to ensure a great travel chatbot user experience.
Don’t Require a Commitment
Before making travel arrangements, customers will spend a great deal of time in the “dream phase” fantasizing about the places they’d like to put on their bucket list. This phase is a great opportunity for travel chatbots. Because the bot can continue searching for deals until the time for the user is right.
Allow your travel assistant bot users to be vague with their queries, then offer them results as they come up. For example, BoltFare, one of our favorite travel chatbots, finds the best deals on flights without a time commitment or deadline.
Make Planning Fun with a Travel Chatbot
Often, groups of friends or family will plan a trip together. This means your travel assistant bot should be equipped to coordinate between multiple users. Offer fun collaborative tools where everyone gets a say. Ideas include:
- Brainstorming destinations
- Polling user’s needs (will one member of the group have difficulty breathing at a high altitude? Does another want to work on their tan?)
- Suggest activities and events based on each user’s interests
Offering these tools allows the group to design their itinerary and fantasize about the trip together. Overall, it makes trip planning fun and less stressful.
Make Your Voice Match the Destination
You can add a lot to the travel chatbot user experience by giving your tourism chatbot a voice and personality that matches its home (the destination). This makes it feel as though users are talking to a local. It can also be a fun way to introduce local trivia or vocabulary to tourists.
If you’re designing such a tourism chatbot for a culture that’s different than your own, though, it’s important not to resort to stereotyping when designing the typical local voice. Ensure that members of that culture play a role in shaping the bot’s voice.
Keep Foreign Travelers in Mind
Another one of our travel chatbot best practices for tourism chatbots: meet the needs of foreign travelers. Transportation and local cuisine can be difficult for tourists who are inexperienced with the local language. Identify these pain points and find ways your chatbot can help. Kiki, another of our favorite travel chatbots, helps foreign users learn about (and order) local cuisine when visiting Japan.
Pull Essential Data
Weather and traffic are two major forces that impact a traveler’s trip and determine whether they can keep to their itineraries. No matter your travel chatbot’s role, you might consider pulling from external data sources to provide warnings that may disrupt a trip. And perhaps offer alternative activities when problems arise.
Consider Gamifying the Trip
Look for opportunities you can “gamify” a journey to make it more fun. For example, you can turn an itinerary into a scavenger hunt for the whole family. Imagine that the tourism chatbot giving away colorful clues on where to go next. This is a fun way to introduce users to a location’s major sites if they’re otherwise unsure where to go. You can also use gamification to teach about the place and its history.
Always Have a Live Agent Handy
Let’s face it. Traveling can be tough and stressful, and sometimes the user (or the travel bot) will mess up. When this happens, be sure to offer a way the user can contact a live agent to sort things out. You wouldn’t want to be stranded in a foreign city with no one to talk to. Neither does a user if your travel bot becomes overwhelmed and confused.
Stay on Top of Analytics
It’s important to regularly check your travel chatbot analytics to see how people are using the bot. What’s working and what isn’t are important. This helps you improve your travel bot and ensure it continues running just as it should. That means fewer headaches along your users’ journeys. Of course, you can also use this data to increase your engagement and retention rates, too.
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