Cheapflights has launched a bot allowing users to search for both flights and hotels within Facebook Messenger.
Rival brand Skyscanner launched a Messenger bot last month, but Cheapflights’ managing director Andrew Shelton said he thinks his firm’s is “better”.
Cheapflights could be one of the first travel brands to have combined search for air tickets and accommodation in a single bot-run platform – Cheapflights Chat.
“We were ready to go last month too,” said Shelton.
“Ours had hotels in it, theirs didn’t. I think ours is better.
“It does hotels and flights, as well as other things. We’re just building out more choice for consumers.”
The Momondo Group-owned metasearch firm allows Facebook Messenger users to search for flights and other travel-related information before linking them to the Cheapflights website, where they can continue to search or “move off onto the next stage of the booking process”.
The core flight and integrated hotel search functionality will be joined by a weather API, currency exchange and emoji search by the end of June.
Cheapflights has combined a suite of APIs with the new Facebook Messenger API, and Cheapflights Chat can understand the users’ intention even when hey send a longer message.
The bot has an answer for everything.
Shelton said 63% of the business’ traffic now comes from mobile and 54% of its revenue.
“It’s a big growth priority for us, so we should absolutely be jumping on any new opportunities that present themselves to engage with our users through that channel.
“Unlike others, our bot is specifically designed with both the Messenger platform, and users of it – and their needs – in mind.
“They can talk to us in the same way they’d talk to friends in Messenger, and will receive ‘human’ replies.”