All these aspects change people’s expectations of how businesses communicate with them. Businesses must find innovative ways to effectively engage with customers. One of the solutions available on the market is the WhatsApp Business API, as Travelstart has demonstrated successfully.
WhatsApp allows businesses to better manage conversations, close leads, provide instant customer support, share useful information, understand customer needs, learn about the questions they have, and engage with them in a way that is fast, simple, and convenient to both parties, making the WhatsApp Business solution an indispensable tool in the customer journey.
From time-critical notifications to general customer care enquiries and 24/7 chat assistance – the WhatsApp Business solution offers the opportunity for seamless and rich conversations with your customers across various industries, especially booming industries like tourism.
The value of conversational commerce in travel services
The South African tourism industry has seen steady growth over the past five years, with over 16 million foreigners visiting the country in 2018. The World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) also noticed an increase in global tourism, with a record of 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals across the globe in 2018.
One cause of the booming travel industry is the growth of travel services, which has made travelling accessible to more people all over the world.
However, as more players enter the travel services industry, it becomes crucial for competing brands to offer excellent, on-demand customer support via the channels most convenient to consumers.
Natural and personal conversations
“Consumers expect convenient ways in which to chat to brands, and the travel industry is no different. They want to communicate with these travel brands in a way that feels natural and personal, receiving real-time information and responses to help facilitate their journeys,” said Lisa Lottering, Digital Marketing Manager at CM.com.
Instant messaging offers the unique ability to address the growing demand for more personal interactions and more streamlined experiences.
How Travelstart enables a better travel experience
One of the companies providing a great experience for their customers in the growing travel industry is Travelstart – a leading online travel agency operating in 18 countries.
Travelstart in the MENA region uses the WhatsApp Business API, via CM.com's Customer Contact tool. This allows them to help today’s business and leisure travelers search, compare, and book the best flight, hotel, and car options with top airline and accommodation suppliers.
The company aims to provide affordable travel together with a simple and convenient travel booking experience, and by using the WhatsApp business solution, Travelstart is doing exactly that – putting the customer’s convenience and support first.
Using Customer Contact, agents are able to field incoming queries, and assist customers with whatever queries they have. These queries can be responded to within the 24 hour customer care window. At the time, agents can send pre-approved messages from the Customer Contact tool in the instance where they need to respond to a customer outside of the 24 hour window - these are called Message Templates. Message Templates can be sent both in and outside of the 24 hour window.
Travelers can now get general questions answered even easier and complete their online booking in no time – all through using instant messaging via the channel they use to engage with friends and family. By tending to customer queries within minutes, they're improving the customer experience as customers don’t have to wait 2 days for a response to an email.
Mobile messaging has long been the preferred way for people to connect with friends and family, and now it’s transforming communication between travel businesses and their customers too. Today, mobile is the number one travel and booking enabler and creates a unique opportunity for travel brands to maximise returns by doing mobile right.
According to Mehmet Uluceviz, Head of Operations at Travelstart MENA, CM.com’s user friendly interface, good references, 24/7 support and quick onboarding, made it a no brainer to partner with them.