Trend 10: Voice & Chatbot commerce starts making an impact

We’ve had Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant for a while. Expedia has shown in this video how it works with Alexa to rent a car, and KLM shared how it can use Google Home to help pack! However, the widespread adoption of voice or chatbots to fully book a hotel room still seemed a long way off. That is changing fast and the traditionally hesitant adoption may get faster with all the labour challenges facing the industry.

Travel Outlook introduced what they refer to as the industry’s first AI powered voice assistant Annette who started out as Bella.

Winimy shows examples of how to speed up event registration and gives restaurant recommendations and bookings.

According to Engati, there are three areas where chatbots are already making a big impact – in travel planning, customer service and comparison and booking. They point to TBO Holidays, which uses their chatbots to automate enquiries about bookings, cancellations, plans, etc., answering 90.4% of questions and handling more enquiries to further increase customer loyalty.

Voice and chat automation company Verloop says OTA Flyin (Cleartrip) has stopped using emails for support after switching to a chatbot.

Servisbot shows the example of Car Trawler helping to handle complaints: a single bot intercepts all customer complaints on over 30 partner websites and in five languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) and either answers the customer query automatically or pre-processes it before forwarding it to the complaints team.

There has been a lot of excitement lately about Chat GPT – a model that has been trained to be even more conversational. According to its creators, the ChatGPT dialogue format allows people to answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, question false premises and reject inappropriate requests. 

Clearly all this voice commerce comes with its own concerns around security and privacy. So I asked Chat GPT “ What are some of the security and privacy concerns that people may have? The answer was the following:

There are several security and privacy concerns that people may have when it comes to using voice commerce, particularly when it comes to sensitive personal information, such as payment details and travel itineraries. Some potential concerns include:

Ø  Unauthorized access: There is a risk that someone could gain unauthorized access to a person’s voice assistant or voice-enabled app and make purchases or access sensitive information without the user’s knowledge or consent.

Ø  Hackers: Hackers may try to intercept voice commands or steal personal information through voice assistants or voice-enabled apps.

Ø  Data security: There is a risk that personal data, such as payment details and travel itineraries, could be accessed or misused by third parties.

Ø  Privacy: Some people may be concerned about the privacy implications of having a device that is constantly listening and potentially recording their conversations.

To address these concerns, it’s important for companies offering voice commerce services to implement robust security measures, such as encryption and secure authentication protocols, to protect against unauthorized access and data breaches. It’s also important for companies to be transparent about their data collection and usage policies, and to give users the ability to opt-out of data collection or delete their data if they choose.

I can’t help but think Chat GPT’s contextual understanding and conversational tone stands out. It’s still in testing phase, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

As a distribution channel, the impact of voice reservations has been declining in many parts of the world. Perhaps we’ll see a new kind of revival of voice bookings through chatbots.

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Tags: Distribution Trends 2023

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