WhatsApp Business API is transforming the travel and hospitality sectors. Effective communication strategies revolve around real-time conversations, rich media functionality, and personalized, convenient and secure interactions.
This article considers the primary use cases of WhatsApp Business API for travel, aviation and hospitality companies. For a more general overview of WhatsApp Business API and its capabilities, please see here.
These sectors will use WhatsApp Business API in two main ways: customer notifications through templated messages from the business to customers, and customer care through session messages when the customer contacts you.
WhatsApp Business API is an ideal channel for travel, aviation and hospitality. It integrates simply with back-end systems and customer relationship systems. It offers secure and private communication, with end-to-end encryption. It can deliver rich media, including booking confirmations and boarding passes, making it convenient for travelers and guests. If a customer requests, you could even send a brochure or menu.
Convenience in hospitality sectors means providing personalized and tailored services, immediate responses, up-to-date information and many other factors. Offering these services on a channel a customer prefers, such as WhatsApp, elevates their experience. Customers in these sectors love this. When they find they are truly being served by the business they will become loyal. That means increasing your retention rate and sustaining or increasing revenue.
Travel and hospitality companies are 24/7 operations. WhatsApp Business API’s automation means you can offer 24/7 support at reduced costs, as templated messages and chatbots take pressure off human agents.
In addition to routine notifications, hotels and travel companies can tell customers about sudden urgent changes. For example, an airline can let all passengers know about a boarding gate opening, or a change to departure gate, or a cancelled or delayed flight. It may send a notification to passengers who haven’t boarded that a boarding gate will close soon. Similarly, a hotelier may use WhatsApp notifications for updating guests about their breakfast specialty in the morning.
The travel industry, whether it be an airline, or transport services such as app-booked taxis or local city transport has been making use of WhatsApp notifications for instant updates and alerts in various parts of the world. For example, a taxi service can update its passengers regarding a ride ETA or on the arrival of the designated ride. Similarly, local inner-city transport can inform customers regarding schedule changes.
The hospitality sector can ask customers to opt-in after a reservation is made to inform their guests with their booking confirmation, itinerary selection, discounts and offers, or loyalty points.
WhatsApp notifications demonstrate higher delivery rates than emails. People routinely pay closer attention to their messaging services than to their email inbox.
Purchase Information Examples:
- Boarding Passes
- Hotel Bookings
- Hotel Information
- Hotel location/directions
Travel Updates Examples:
- Flight cancellations or delays
- Flight rescheduling
- Gate changes
- Check-in notifications
- Passport/visa requirements
- Known traveler requests
Good customer care is crucial in the travel and hospitality sectors. Customers may wish to contact you to reschedule flights or other journeys, to query payment methods or other billing issues, to change their itinerary, check on their reward points, or for general inquiries. They may wish to cancel or reschedule journeys or stays.
You can use WhatsApp Business API’s automation to handle routine queries with a chatbot – either a rules-based chatbot designed to offer options for your most common requests or an AI smart bot. Chatbots can replace or support traditional concierge services.
Whichever system you choose, it’s important to offer the ability to chat with a human agent as an option or intelligent fallback. Make human handover a part of the process and ensure customers can divert to a human agent if they choose. They may not find the information they’re looking for through a chatbot, and some don’t like chatting with an AI bot.
The menu options of rules-based chatbots even suggest the possibility of ordering room service or restaurant meals with WhatsApp – a QR code can give a diner the WhatsApp number, a query to check their room or table number, and the physical menu can assign each menu item a number, or the most popular choices could be listed by your chatbot.
When customers interact with you over WhatsApp, you may take the opportunity to cross-sell or upsell, pointing out options they may not have considered (or noticed).
Seat selection, cabin or room upgrades
Payment or billing enquiries
Reward point queries
Service or product enquiries
Ticket or booking queries
Ticket or reservation changes
Are you ready to digitalize the retail sector and automate ecommerce? Do you want to provide simple and hassle-free purchases for customers? Request a WhatsApp Business API account from unifonic today and unleash opportunities for your business.