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Chatbots in Tourism: Successful Cases in the Russian Market

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A chatbot is a virtual helper that works under a pre-designed pattern. A chatbot is intended for clients who want to quickly find information that they need or to get answers to their questions without making immediate contact with managers by phone or using a feedback form.

A chatbot enables to solve a number of issues, from assistance with tour selection and order placement to collection of clients' comments and suggestions.

There are two groups of chatbots:

1. Standard. This group includes those that answer a visitor using keywords from their query. In this case, a response command must be set for every entered phrase. However, if a query is formulated in a different way, a chatbot will not be able to respond. Hints and dialogue options will help to avoid misunderstanding.

2. Self-learning. This group is arranged in a different way. These chatbots are closer to artificial intelligence as they learn better speech understanding in every dialogue. This helper can give an answer even if a query entered is non-standard.

Chatbot Advantages in Tourism Industry

Travel business is involved into constant communication with users, with almost every company having a tried and tested list of routine tasks and standard Q&A. That is why chatbots are of vital importance in this industry.

24/7 Access

Users can exchange messages with a chatbot at any time and via any channel. At that, you can set up a chatbot sustained in corporate style, communicating in a certain tone, and with due account for product or service specifics.

XPlat

Chatbots can be introduced on any channel from websites to messengers such as Telegram, Viber, or WhatsApp and social media networks, for example, Facebook and VKontakte. Therefore, bots make your business accessible for a larger number of tourists.

Operational Data

Chatbots let you analyze data in real-time, and they can keep and process a lot of information based on the data they get from users.

By doing so, you can thoroughly segment your database and, consequently, operate all your marketing campaigns more effectively.

Order in a Matter of Minutes

Indeed, an order can be arranged on a website immediately, but a chatbot conversation interface creates a feeling of a more personal approach and is convenient for users, especially if a bot is integrated into message apps that they use every day.

Increasing Customer Loyalty

Even after selection of a destination, purchase of a tour, or booking in a hotel, a tourist can have extra Wh-questions, which a chatbot can help answering 24/7. For instance, a bot can answer recurrent questions, 'I want to check the status of my order. When is the departure? What are my coverage conditions?' Even if a customer just wants to learn what the weather is like at the destination or asks to recommend a good café, an ability to get a prompt, personal reply will foster the loyalty of your clients and make your chatbot their inherent companion for the whole period of their journey, and this will give you an opportunity to gather extra information about tourists' preferences.

Chatbot and Destination Marketing

Just like any other marketing tool, a chatbot can be handled creatively. So, for example, in September 2020 Facebook, backed by the Federal Agency for Tourism, launched a chatbot (a Russia From Home project) to support domestic Russian tourism and small enterprises that suffered from consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The chatbot is a digital guide for 13 travel destinations in Russia that proposes a user to answer several questions about their preferences and, based on their answers, recommends a destination. They include Baikal, Caucasus, Altai, Kamchatka, Tatarstan, Karelia, Saint Petersburg, Moscow and its adjacent areas, and the Black Sea coast.

PR Bot

Aviasales is one of the leading-edge companies in the travel industry of Russia: if any new tools appear in the digital sphere, one can say for sure that Aviasales is already using them. Aviasales has bots on Telegram, Facebook, Viber, and other messengers, regional bots with the lowest prices in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Samara, Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, and Khabarovsk. They also have a bot that proposes to subscribe to a certain destination.

So, Aviasales has recently announced the creation of a PR bot. To create it, the Aviasales team analyzed hundreds of journalistic inquiries and selected the most popular ones. 'Now one can learn in a couple of clicks where tourists winged this winter, how air ticket prices changed within a year, and what is going on with demand', the company's message tells.

Source: Sostav.ru

A Couple of Tips When Developing a Chatbot:

  • determine a key goal of its creation: sales, lead generation, or information sharing;
  • consider pain points and needs of your key audience and try to provide information that caters to these needs as much as possible;
  • analyze the data obtained and adjust the bot's settings and functionality;
  • process feedback.

Travel Research

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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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