Chatbots are “a waste of time” if travel companies aim to serve clients and see them return, according to Trip.com general manager Andy Washington.
He told the Travolution European Summit: “Lots of people jumped to this chatbot technology on a cost basis.
“But if you’re doing it on a cost basis, you’re not looking after the customer. People won’t come back. Chatbots are a waste of time.”
Travelzoo UK general manager James Clarke reported Travelzoo research suggested “different generations want very different things” when booking online.
“Younger adults want imagery and videos,” he said. “But older adults want to be able to speak to someone and don’t want to wait to do it. 75% of respondents said they used automated bot technology during the pandemic, but did the technology provide the answers they wanted?”
Clarke added: “We saw aresurgence in the use of email for communicating during Covid.”
He argued: “The way customers use social media in travel is changing. Under‑35s are not making complaints via social media, but those 35‑plus don’t mind leveraging social media to make complaints.”
Washington suggested younger adults “don’t complain [on social media] because it’s not cool”.