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How to use the WhatsApp Business solution in Travel & Hospitality

In this series of sector related tips for the WhatsApp Business API, we’re diving into the possibilities of WhatsApp for the Travel & Hospitality sector. How can you benefit from the WhatsApp Business solution in terms of reducing pressure on customer care while optimizing the customer journey?

Repeatedly answering similar questions can be quite a time-consuming hassle. In the travel & hospitality sector, it isn’t hard to image how standardized messages can reduce pressure on customer care. Wouldn’t it be easier if questions were answered before they’re asked, with proactive notifications on for example boarding gates, arrival times or the beginning of events? The WhatsApp Business API has a way to make things a bit easier on your customer care center. How? With message Templates.

What are Message Templates you ask? Message Templates are pre-approved messages that can be sent in both inbound and outbound communication with your customers. These messages can be used to send notifications to those customers with an active opt-in in for WhatsApp notifications. To personalize the message, you can use the numbered placeholders {x}. Each of those placeholders can be filled with letters, digits, special characters and spaces. This is best explained with an example. I will give some examples on how these Message Templates can be used to optimize customer care in the Travel & Hospitality sector.

Customer inquiries: Assist customers with questions regarding seat selection, cabin upgrades, payment or billing, itinerary changes, reward points or product service inquiries. Customers may come to you with these questions. In case the core of the answer is typically the same, creating Message Templates with customizable fields may reduce pressure on your customer care team. However, proactively informing your customers on important changes, will even ensure a pleasant customer journey (literally and figuratively) without the need to ask a question. 

Hi {1}, you’re flight to {2} will leave at {3}. There was a gate change. Please make sure you’re at gate {4} 30 minutes before departure. Have a great flight!

Customer resolution: Or how about when a problem occurs? You’ll want that issue solved as soon as possible, so your customer won’t have any complaints to share with his friends. So if a ticket is changed, or cancellation occurs, do make sure you inform your customer yourself and don’t let him find out when it’s too late. 

Hi {1}, we’re very sorry to inform you your flight has been cancelled due to the storm. Please report to desk {2} to get your tickets changed, or reply to this message for help. Use this map to find desk {2}.

Travel updates: There’s more to notify your customers on travel updates than just flight cancellations. Are you organizing an event, but is there road construction? Why not inform your visitors beforehand, so they know to take an alternative route and leave on time, so they won’t be late? Information on gate openings, check-in information, passport requirements or other recurring customer requests can easily be shared via Message Templates. How’s that for a care free journey?

Hi {1}, you’ve got a flight planned tomorrow. Airliner {2} recently changed its hand luggage regulations. Please make sure you have max. 1 piece of luggage. Handbags/camera bags etc. should fit in your one piece hand luggage. Find more information on luggage regulations here {3}. 

Purchase information: WhatsApp is also a valuable tool to share purchase information. For example to share boarding passes, information on hotel bookings, or directions. Were extra services ordered, for example transfer to the hotel, or a room upgrade? Or did the customer request information about an artist performing at your event? Why not let him know when his performance is about to start? Whatever your business is, make sure the customer can find all needed information for a care free experience. 

These were just a few of the many examples of how you can use the WhatsApp Business API Message Templates to actively inform customers for an improved customer experience. WhatsApp and your WhatsApp Business API distributor may provide you with Message Templates, or you can request your own. Approval of Message Templates is done by WhatsApp and your Authorized Distributor for the WhatsApp Business solution.

Important to note is that for outbound use of these Templates, you will need an active opt-in from your customer to receive specified information. Otherwise, they may be used only in the customer care window, initiated by the customer. If the customer has any questions after receiving your notifications, he can ask for more information by simply replying to your message, opening up such a customer care window in which you can communicate freely. So besides using Message Templates, of course you can also have a spontaneous chat, where you can type your messages with rich media in response to a customer initiated conversation.

Get started with WhatsApp Business

Are you ready to take your customer care to a higher level? Request a WhatsApp Business account today and find out the many other possibilities it holds for your business. Get started with WhatsApp now. Request your account now!

Get started with WhatsApp and request your account today!
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