WTM 2015: Facebook predicts business messenger app will benefit airlines

WTM 2015: Facebook predicts business messenger app will benefit airlines

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Facebook is developing a messenger app for businesses which the social networking site predicts will be “very beneficial” to airlines.

KLM will be the first to launch the app, which brings everything – from itineraries to information on delays – into one thread.

Speaking at a seminar at WTM on Wednesday, Facebook’s head of travel, Lee McCabe, said people were connecting more and more with mobile apps.

Smartphone users spend 37 hours a month on apps, including 20% of that time on Facebook.

McCabe said: “We’ve been working on a new messenger for businesses and before long we will have other travel companies testing it.”

“This will be very good for airlines. When booking a flight there are many places to interact but with messenger there is just one thread.

“This is going to be big.”

But McCabe warned that while apps can aid the industry, they also bring “challenges”.

He said traditional auxiliary services in hotels, such as room service and paying for films on demand, were becoming less and less relevant with the rise in apps which will soon be able to bring every level of “comfort and convenience” to guests.

“All people want is a nice room, in a good location, with Wi-Fi.”

He said this is one of the reasons why Airbnb is doing “so well”.

McCabe also predicted that before long, virtual reality technology would allow Facebook users to look around a destination that comes up in their news feed so customers can check places and hotels before going there.

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