Business travellers have no preference whether they deal with a chatbot or a human when making bookings, new research suggests.
Booking.com for Business also found that 80% of respondents to its survey favoured self-service methods of booking travel.
The firm says chatbots linked to travel and accommodation providers are an “increasingly valued tool” for business travellers who are using artificial intelligence to check the weather, research transport options in destination and receive customer support – with customers increasingly “warming to them”.
Exactly half of the respondents to the survey said they don’t mind whether they deal with a real person or a computer, as long as their questions are answered.
Booking.com has an AI-enabled Booking Assistant, which travellers can ask post-accommodation booking questions on subjects such as payment, transport, arrival and departure times, date changes and internet availability.
Booking Assistant is able to handle almost 50% of these customer stay inquiries automatically, the company said, adding that business travellers want to “ensure that unknowns are kept to a minimum” to minimise stress.
But the OTA says “there is still a place for human interaction” and pointed out that its Booking Assistant asks for assistance form human customer service staff when it can’t answer the question.
“AI is not about replacing human interaction, but is instead a vehicle to facilitate an even more personalized, instantaneously gratifying and frictionless travel experience for consumers,” the company said in a press release. “The winning combination of AI and human interaction is fuelling a more personalized, rewarding and frictionless travel experience,” it added.