Is Chat Really Next in Consumer Travel Tech?

Published November 2017 Analyst: Mark Blutstein

 

Is Chat Really Next in Consumer Travel Tech?

New technology often makes consumers' lives easier, and over the past decade, smartphones have been one of the most popular devices to streamline consumers' day-to-day activities. For travel, consumers have adopted and used their phones for shopping and booking their trips, in-destination mapping and much more. But what's next? Will home voice-powered devices or chatbots emerge as primary tools that help consumers plan and execute their travel?

As of now, consumers are not overly eager to adopt chat-based services to help them with travel tasks. However, in both the U.S. and Europe, there is enormous potential for these services, particularly for customer service and shopping-related activities. U.S. consumers show a willingness to use text or chat-based services to contact the front desk at a hotel or interact with a customer service representative, both of which can save time and alleviate frustration. While Europeans appear relatively wary of this technology compared to U.S. online travelers, they are most comfortable using text or chat functionality to compare and select products.


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For now, travelers' willingness to use text messaging or chat-based messaging apps is highly action- or task-dependent, but the technology is evolving rapidly and will clearly gain traction over time. Both chat-based messaging and voice-powered assistants are dynamic, consumer-facing technologies; they each should be tracked closely over the next few years to evaluate their impact on consumer behavior and adoption throughout the travel life cycle.

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