How much time can chatbots really save you as a tourism operator?

Letitia Stevenson
May 29, 2023

The tourism industry has seen a dramatic shift in recent years with the advent of new technologies that are revolutionizing the way people travel. One such technology is the chatbot, which has become an increasingly popular tool for tourism companies to improve customer service and enhance the overall travel experience. 

But the question that we keep being asked and we want to address today is ‘How much time can chatbots really save you?’

Firstly, it's important to understand what a chatbot is and how it works. A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate human conversation through digital interactions. Chatbots can be integrated into various platforms, such as websites, messaging apps, and social media platforms. In the tourism industry, chatbots are used successfully to provide customers with quick and accurate responses to their queries, offer personalized recommendations, and increase online sales by up to 20%.

Chatbots significantly reduce the time customers spend waiting for a response from a human customer service representative.  Yonders data shows that, on average, 40% of customer inquiries are initiated outside of office hours, allowing businesses to serve customers immediately 24 hours a day. This is a significant improvement in customer service as these days customers expect fast responses to their inquiries, particularly when it comes to travel arrangements. When they don’t get prompt responses they typically drift off to an alternative option.

Responding to repetitive phone calls and emails can be time-consuming for tourism operators, and finding ways to streamline the process can be a huge advantage. Skydive Tecumseh, a premier Skydive operator based in Michigan, deflected over 300 phone calls from his customer service team in a four-month period. Redwood Treewalks, an award-winning treetop experience in New Zealand, saved over 274 hours of staff time in 90 days by having a chatbot answer their repetitive questions for them.

By delivering immediate customer service chatbots free up staff time to be more productive. Chatbots can gather relevant information to ensure that a response from a customer service team is accurate and quick, saving back-and-forth emails or phone calls, which saves hours of staff time.

Chatbots can also handle multiple inquiries simultaneously, which is not possible for human representatives. South Sea Cruises based in Fiji have five different brands and websites. To help reduce the pressure on their centralized customer service team they have implemented chatbots across all five businesses, reducing repetitive phone calls and emails and giving their team more time to deal with the people that really need their support.

How can you calculate how much staff time a chatbot will save your business reducing phone calls and emails?

Step 1: Work out approximately how many website chats you can expect to receive. Currently, the average number of website visitors that interact with chat sits at around 1.5% so we will use this as a starting point, however, many operators experience up to 3% of website visitors chatting. (We are excluding social media chats for simplicity here)

Number of website visitors/month X 0.015 = Approx number of website chats per month 

Step 2: Work out the time it would take to answer these chats via phone, email or live chat. The assumption is that each chat saves, on average 4.5mins, which includes reading messages, waiting for responses, typing back, etc.  Responding to messages can be very time-consuming!

Number of website chats per month X 4.5 = Number of minutes per month you can save

Chatbots not only save staff time answering questions but they also save time helping you to identify business improvements. The data that is collected via chatbots holds extremely valuable insights into your customers. From what they are looking for, need help to understand, to where they get stuck in the booking process, your chatbots can help unearth and show you very quickly answers to these and more questions. One regional tourism operator uses their chatbot to identify new travel itineraries to add to their website. Other operators regularly use chat data to get blog post ideas or to initiate changes to their website and what they are offering on their tours. For example, Redwoods Treewalk changed its website layout after the “What is the price” question got asked many times after going live with a new website. Once the changes were made the question disappeared from chats.

Chatbots have emerged as a powerful tool for tourism operators, offering significant time-saving benefits. By providing quick and accurate responses to customer inquiries, chatbots enhance customer service and increase online sales. They reduce the waiting time for customers, handle multiple inquiries simultaneously, and free up staff time to focus on more important tasks. The implementation of chatbots has proven to be successful for multiple tourism companies, saving hundreds of hours of staff time and deflecting numerous repetitive phone calls and emails. Moreover, chatbots provide valuable insights through the data they collect, helping operators identify business improvements and make informed decisions. By considering a chatbot for your tourism operation, operators can unlock the potential for increased efficiency, improved customer service, and enhanced overall performance in the ever-evolving tourism industry.

If you want to free up staff time and gain staff efficiencies then reach out to Yonder for a chat to find out how you can get started.

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