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WTM 2016: Chatbots the focus of Day Three of the Travel Tech Show

World Travel Market 2016, ExCeL London. Travel Tech Show Floor.

Chatbots are not going to take over the world yet but solid use cases are emerging according to experts speaking during the final day of the Travel Tech Show at the World Travel Market (WTM) London 2016 on Wednesday.

WTM_2016_1John Newbold, co-founder of digital experience agency 383, said companies need to cut through the hype and be specific about when and where bots should be used. “As with most things, the best bots will be built on strong specific use cases with good user experience”, he said.

Newbold also provided five thoughts for bot design which include not assuming they will be right for everything and how effective they will become when they can chat to each other to deliver “blended useful information.”

Travel Tech ShowTourCMS founder Alex Bainbridge said he could see good use cases in the tours and activities sector such as bots answering queries when offices are not open but consumers are still booking tours.

He added that bots would work well for multi-day tours when most customers need to speak to an agent during some part of the process. “If we could narrow that down a little with bots we could probably sell twice as many tours”, Bainbridge said.

Other speakers on the panel, which was organised by Digital Tourism Think Tank, pointed to the impact of chatbots in Asia.

Sandro Cuzzolin, senior manager, business development, Amadeus Travel Audience, said that chat service Line is years ahead in terms of integration with shopping, taxi services and payments.

The session finished on a cautionary note however with Newbold highlighting that the challenge for big companies would be enabling bots to access data from their existing technology.

Bots came up at other panels over the course of the day with experts predicting that some of the established platforms, such as WeChat, are a safer bet than travel companies trying to implement proprietary systems.

The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is an official media partner of WTM London 2016.

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