Customers have grown used to the convenience and speed with which they can now make their travel bookings online. So, the current times have been calling for something else; something more; something that can deliver a better customer experience and keep your customers coming back for more.
As a matter of fact, many online travel booking business owners have been brainstorming on how to spice things up for their customers. And thankfully, recent technological developments have brought along copious amounts of options with which business owners can overcome this concern.
From AI to VR/AR, technology has equipped businesses with the right set of tools to enhance their offerings. So, it’s about time that OTAs (and online travel booking businesses) start learning how they can use latest technology to deliver better customer experience.
Today, virtual reality needs no introduction. But for the uninitiated, virtual reality, or simply VR, is a computer generated simulation that offers a “real-life” experience to the users. If you know Oculus or Samsung Gear, you know VR.
The above definition (creating real-life like virtual experiences) in itself gives cues on how the technology can be used by travel industry businesses. Travel booking startups can start offering virtual tours of the destinations they are selling packages for. Through these tours, visitors can get an idea of how the real life experience is going to be. A glimpse of what they can expect is a sure way to entice them and want to seal the deal.
The mobile app of your booking startup is ideal to implement this feature (as there is already a multitude of VR devices for mobile). Other than that, you can also offer virtual tours on the desktop website.
If you think AR is great only for Pokémon Go, the world has come past all of it. As a matter of fact, the world of technology has started exploring AR for its more extensive uses, with many applications for travelling & exploring. How? Well, that quite interesting to know.
AR technology being used at a Museum (Source: Wikipedia)
AR based navigation feature (Source: AppleApple.top)
IoT is no new concept, and yet, there are many ways in which its uses are yet to be realized and utilized. IoT is immensely useful for online travel agencies/booking marketplaces to offer their customers a more seamless experience once they have reached the destination.
First off, you can offer virtual keycards that work in tandem with the package bought. This keycard should contain information about what facilities the customer can avail in the package, and thus, the access will only require the customer to scan the code and that’s that. From self-check-in to unlocking the room, IoT can work wonders for customers by making things more streamlined.
Speaking of streamlined experience, IoT also includes using wearable technology such as Pebble Watch, so that customers can get “handy” navigation without having to hold their smartphones/tablets in their hand all the time. And then there comes the problem of luggage handling, this is where Smart Suitcase comes into play.
Pebble wrist watch navigation (Source: Pocketnow)
As a travel booking agency, what you can do is integrate an ecommerce module and sell such merchandise on your website. Besides offering customers a better experience, it will also add an additional revenue channel for your business.
Traveling brings along lots of questions. And more often than not, most of the travelers share common queries.Online travel agencies can integrate AI technology based Chatbots with their websites, where customers can get their FAQs answered quickly.
These are the questions whose answers don’t change, and you need to answer a lot of people at the same time for the same questions. In this case, you don’t need to employ skilled human resources,thus saving plenty of money. These Chatbots are capable of answering the travel related queries of potential customers.Including the FAQs in chat based queries by using a Multiple Choice Question format will help your potential customers get to the right answers more quickly.
The fact of the matter is, Chatbots are becoming the new norm in the ecommerce sector, and it makes perfect sense for travel booking startups to include this feature among their offerings to provide an enhanced user experience.
Last but not the least, being an innovative social media platform, Snapchat has continuously introduced many new cool features (tech-based or otherwise) that can be easily & effectively used by travel industry businesses. One of such features is Snap Map, a heat map that tells you where your friends are, the bigger the heat map, the more action an event is getting. Online travel agencies can use Snap Map by purchasing location tags of a particular location to get useful customer data and to notify their potential customers the special tourist attractions or the “must visit” places of a particular destination.
Keeping the above discussion in mind, we can’t emphasize enough on the importance of incorporating latest technology with online travel sector – one of the fastest growing ecommerce business models.Online consumers have already moved on from quick websites and quick bookings. The times have changed and they expect you to give them unprecedented experience. Giving them a virtual tour of places they plan to go to, giving them the added touch of augmented reality once they reach there, giving them a seamless experience and making things really easy for them is the way to go.
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