Facebook Messenger bot continues to grow as flight searches became the new topic of conversation
26 May 2016
Flight search engine giant Skyscanner is the latest company to embrace automated customer support in the form of Facebook messages
Skyscanner is one of many tech companies to seize the opportunity to reinvent the way they communicate with customers by using bot technology. However, they are not the first ones to introduce this technology into the travel industry. Earlier this year Facebook and KLM airlines announced a partnership enabling KLM customers to receive flight confirmations, boarding cards, reminders, flight status updates, and customer service directly through the Facebook Messenger app.
Going for the same approach Skyscanner has also launched a Facebook Messenger bot, enabling users to search for flights “conversationally”. With an average 50 million flight searches each month, they believe this is the next step towards making travel arrangements as easy and smooth as possible for their customers. The director of the company, Filip Filipov, had this to say on the new bot trend:
“The messaging economy and conversational search are areas which we believe are incredibly important evolutionary features for the travel industry. It has been a top priority for us to take a pioneering approach when it comes to building a bot for the Messenger Platform. We want to make travel search as easily accessible as possible, and believe that the launch of our Messenger bot will allow more people to search for their travel in a fun and informative way.”
Ready for that summer vacation? Why not give the clever bot a go and find your next travel inspiration. All you have to do is go to Skyscanner's Facebook page and start a private conversation. You can then inquire the clever bot for a flight destination or just hit the 'Contact us' button to speak to a human. Available to any Messenger user typing in English, travelers are able to chat with the bot like they would normally do with their friends. If you are not sure where you would like to go, you can just type “not sure” to find the cheapest destinations from your nearest airport. This neat feature is already known from Skyscanner’s mobile and web apps.
The platform is created based on the company’s regular flight data API and the flight suggestions are based on real-time search trends and the current cheapest pricing. The bot then sends a link to Skyscanner’s site so that the user can confirm the flight reservation and make payment.
We can see why Facebook Messenger has been chosen for platform given its huge growth potential and more than 900 million monthly active users. Facebook has made developing these clever bots a high priority for developers - some people are even saying that conversational search is the biggest tech innovation since the introduction of the Apple App store. Although a bit exaggerated, we agree that messaging bots have taken the travel industry to a whole new level of user experience.