Chatbots: The Army of Artificial Intelligence Talks

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Chatbots: The Army of Artificial Intelligence Talks

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In July of 2008 Apple opened the App Store with 552 mobile apps. Now, 8 years later – there are millions of apps in app stores and the app industry is worth billions of dollars. However, the inevitable has happened, and the app economy is maturing. Instant messaging applications are the only apps that users are consistently using, so how can brands continue to interact with them? Chatbots.

Chatbots function within existing instant messaging applications such as Slack, Messenger, Kik, Skype and Whatsapp. According to The Guardian, “chat bots are computer programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence. They can transform the way [users] interact with the internet from a series of self-initiated tasks to a quasi-conversation”.

Chatbots primarily use advanced natural language processing software in order to interpret what users are asking them, and respond appropriately. Kik, the instant messaging app popular with millennials launched a bot shop last week and Facebook launched its own bot shop today. Right now, chatbots have mostly been created by brands for specific customer interactions. For example, KLM Airlines has a bot within Messenger to send passengers copies of their boarding passes, and Kayak has a bot within Slack to help users start their travel search. However, the “chatbot age” is very young and we will see users given the opportunity to chat with live people on behalf of brands as well.

The app economy appears to be saturating, as users desire a more seamless experience. According to The Economist “the timing [for bots] looks right, because smartphone software is in flux. Download numbers are still growing, but the app economy is clearly maturing…a quarter of all downloaded apps are abandoned after a single use…and only instant messaging bucks the trend. Over 2.5 billion people have at least one messaging app installed…and within a couple of years that will reach 3.6 billion”.

At GuestU, our experts believe that chatbots will have a profound impact on the travel industry. Users are going to use bots when searching for accommodations, flights and activities. Likewise, if anything unexpected happens on their journeys they are going to seek customer service from bots as well. Chatbots are here, and travel brands should start developing theirs now in order to stay ahead of the trend.

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