On Thursday, last-minute hotel booking service HotelTonight announced it is extending its in-app concierge service Aces to users to over 30 cities around the world, including big metropolises like London and smaller towns like Scottsdale, Ariz. HotelTonight first started testing Aces in five cities last summer. It allows users to chat with a customer service rep from the hotel they booked for concierge services, such as requests for extra toiletries or local restaurant recommendations without calling the hotel or even leaving the app.
HotelTonight is not the only booking site that is modernizing its service with a messaging interface. Travel booking site Kayak has built a chat bot on team communication app Slack that can handle flight and hotel searches. Startups like Hyper and Pana aim to simplify travel booking by replacing all web searches and phone calls with travel agents with texting.
What Brands Need To Do
Today, more and more people are using messaging apps as their primary communication channel. In fact, Facebook reported that together its two messaging apps – Messenger and WhatsApp – are now processing 60 billion messages a day, which is three times higher than SMS handled at its peak. Therefore, it is crucial for brands to integrate messaging features into their service so as to cater to the changing communication preferences of customers and better serve their needs.
To learn more about how brands can navigate the unique challenges that messaging apps present, check out the Conversational Interfaces section in our Outlook 2016.