The travel industry has undergone radical change in recent years, with new technology revolutionizing the way we explore the globe.
From online bookings to virtual tours, these advancements have made the entire travel experience more accessible, convenient, and immersive.
Amidst this digital transformation, one tool has emerged as a game-changer for businesses in the travel industry - video chat.
Modern communication channels like video chat have transformed the way businesses connect with customers, eliminating geographical barriers and empowering brands to take the in-store customer experience online.
But what do travel companies and their customers stand to gain from the use of video calls?
What are the primary use cases for video chat in the travel sector?
And how can travel brands leverage video calls to take their digital customer service to the next level?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and provide everything you need to know about video chat for travel. We’ll cover:
- The benefits of video chat for the travel sector
- Key use cases for video chat in the travel industry
- How leading travel brands have harnessed the power of video chat
- Getting started with video chat for travel
Video chat for travel benefits
The use of video chat as a customer contact channel can provide a multitude of advantages for businesses and consumers.
For the travel industry, video chat can be an excellent tool for generating digital leads and enhancing the online traveler experience.
Let’s delve into the key benefits of video chat for travel brands and their customers in turn.
The benefits of video chat for travel brands
The following are some of the key benefits of video chat for businesses in the travel sector:
- Increased travel bookings: According to Talkative data, consumers are 4x more likely to make a purchase or booking when they partake in a video chat interaction. Through a video call, agents can communicate better and gain a greater understanding of the customer’s individual needs. They can then use this information to provide personalized travel advice and tailored destination recommendations that’ll increase online travel bookings in turn.
- Stronger customer relationships: Video chat enables humanized, face-to-face communication in the virtual realm. This empowers agents to establish genuine rapport and a more personal connection with the customer. As a result, travel agents can leverage video to create stronger relationships and build customer loyalty.
- Greater scope of reach: Video chat eliminates geographical barriers, allowing you to cater to consumers and travelers around the globe. This enables travel brands to extend their services beyond local clientele and tap into international markets. They can even use video chat to support customers while they’re traveling or on holiday - wherever they might be. By offering video customer support, travel organizations can connect with consumers across different time zones and expand their scope of reach.
- Competitive edge: If your competitors in the travel sector don’t offer video chat services to their clients, you can get a step ahead of them by implementing it first - and you might even acquire more business by doing so. In fact, 27% of consumers say they would switch to a different brand if it offered video chat customer service.
It’s clear that video chat can be an invaluable tool for businesses in the travel industry - but what do consumers have to gain from this channel?
The benefits of video chat for travelers
For travel customers, the main benefit of video chat is that it replicates the in-branch experience more closely than any other means of digital communication.
Thanks to video chat, remote advisors can offer face-to-face consultations, in-depth guidance, and personalized service - just like an in-store travel agent would do.
All travelers need to access these video chat services is an appropriate device (e.g. a smartphone, laptop, computer, or tablet) and an internet connection.
And it’s not just travel agents that customers can digitally engage with via video chat – they can also use video to connect with tour guides, hotel/resort representatives, language interpreters, travel insurance advisors, etc.
What’s more, the visual aspect of video calls can even allow customers to remotely view hotels, resorts, and tourist attractions in real time - before they visit them.
Through the power of video chat, travelers can access the ultimate digital customer experience that’ll keep them coming back for more.
Use cases for video chat in the travel sector
Video calls provide an interactive medium to connect with travelers, enhance communication, and deliver personalized experiences - regardless of location.
In this section, we’ll detail five key use cases to demonstrate the various ways that video chat can be applied in the travel industry.
1. Remote consultations
This allows travelers to access expert advice on destinations, holiday packages, flights, accommodations, etc - from any location with an Internet connection.
In turn, travel agents or consultants can use these conversations to conduct personalized travel planning, provide information, and answer any questions the customer might have.
Remote consultations are an important use case because the travel industry frequently caters to high-value customers who require in-depth guidance and a more consultative approach to customer service.
Holidays and travel ventures tend to be luxury purchases that require a substantial amount of organization and information-sharing.
This is much easier to negotiate via the face-to-face dynamic of a video call than through other means of digital communication (e.g. live chat, email).
By virtually conversing through video chat, agents can explore the customer’s preferences, interests, and budget in detail.
This deeper understanding of the client’s individual situation allows agents to provide suitable suggestions that align with their travel needs and desires.
2. Online bookings
In a similar vein to remote consultations, video chat can also be used to assist customers with online travel bookings.
Online bookings are an integral part of the digital customer journey, allowing travelers to make reservations for flights, hotels, and various other travel arrangements.
Video chat can be leveraged to enhance the online booking experience in the following ways:
- Customer support: If travelers encounter any issues during an online booking, video chat can be used to provide virtual support. This provides a more interactive support experience, as agents can visually guide customers through the booking process and answer queries in real-time. They can even utilize tools like cobrowsing, alongside video, to help customers navigate your website. This can be particularly useful for complex itineraries, group bookings, or when customers require more hands-on assistance.
- Troubleshooting: In cases where customers face technical difficulties or errors during the online booking process, video chat can be used as a troubleshooting tool. Customers can connect with technical support representatives through video chat, allowing them to visually assess issues and resolve them more effectively.
- Verification and confirmation: For online travel bookings that require additional verification steps (e.g. visa applications), customers can be invited to join a video call to help them complete the process. In these situations, video chat can be utilized to confirm the traveler’s identity, discuss the additional steps required, or exchange the necessary further information.
By integrating video chat into the online booking process, you can boost customer satisfaction and help resolve any problems or queries that may arise.
It serves as a valuable tool to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for your digital customers.
3. Virtual tours
Virtual tours have become an increasingly popular use case for video chat in the travel industry.
They offer an innovative way for consumers to experience destinations, attractions, and accommodations remotely - either as part of their travel planning or as a standalone tourist experience.
By leveraging video chat as a tool for virtual tours, businesses in the travel sector can offer their customers:
- Remote exploration: Virtual tours allow travelers to explore various locations before visiting them or making a booking. They can virtually visit hotels, landmarks, tourist attractions, and other points of interest through a live video stream. Travel agents or tour guides can act as hosts, providing commentary and answering questions
- Personalized experiences: Virtual tours can be tailored to individual preferences and needs. Participants can communicate their specific areas of interest or request locations they would like to explore further. Tour guides can adjust the itinerary on the fly, making the experience more personalized and relevant to each participant.
- Accessible tourism: Virtual tours can make travel experiences accessible to individuals who may have mobility constraints, disabilities, or other limitations. They allow people to explore destinations they may not have been able to visit physically, providing an inclusive travel experience for a wider audience.
- Pre-trip planning: Virtual tours serve as a valuable tool for travelers during the pre-trip planning stage. They can get a preview of destinations/accommodations, assess attractions, and make more informed decisions about their itineraries. This helps travelers to optimize their time and resources, ensuring they visit the places that align with their desires.
Overall, virtual tours via video chat provide an immersive and convenient way for travelers to preview or enjoy destinations remotely.
These video experiences offer flexibility, personalization, and enhanced customer engagement, making them a valuable addition to the travel industry’s customer service offerings.
4. On-the-go travel assistance
In addition to playing an important role in the pre-travel planning process, video chat can also be a valuable tool for customers who require assistance whilst traveling to, or around, their destination.
In these scenarios, a video call can be a convenient and effective way for travelers to seek support and information on the go.
The following are some specific examples of how consumers can benefit from video chat support in various travel scenarios:
- Airline support: A number of leading airports have incorporated video support via their website, app, or on-site kiosks. If a traveler encounters flight delays, cancellations, or any other related issues, they can use video chat to connect with airport representatives and support agents. They can show their travel documents, discuss available options, and receive immediate assistance/information without having to queue at the airline counter.
- Travel agency: Travelers may need to contact their travel agency whilst traveling to resolve booking-related concerns, such as itinerary changes or clarifications. With video chat, they can access immediate face-to-face support and discuss their bookings, request additional services, or seek guidance on navigating to their destination.
- Customs and immigration queries: Travelers may encounter difficulties regarding customs and immigration procedures when arriving in a new country. Through video chat, they can connect with airport authorities or immigration services to obtain clarifications, ensuring compliance with entry requirements and streamlining the process.
- Travel insurance support: In case of emergencies or unexpected situations, travelers may need to contact their travel insurance provider. In these situations, they could video call an advisor to discuss coverage, file claims, or get advice on how to proceed in case of medical emergencies, lost baggage, etc.
- Destination-specific assistance: Some travel destinations offer video chat services specifically tailored to tourists. For instance, a city's tourism department might provide virtual assistance through video chat, helping travelers with directions, local attractions, or cultural queries.
These examples illustrate how video chat can enhance the travel experience by enabling travelers to connect with relevant service providers remotely.
Thanks to video contact centers, businesses in the travel industry can ensure that their customers can easily resolve issues or access information wherever they are - with minimum disruption to their trip.
5. Virtual concierge services
Video chat is not just a useful channel for remote support - it can also be implemented within hotels or resorts to provide on-site, virtual concierge services.
This enables guests to video call a member of the concierge team from the comfort of their rooms, the poolside, or any location within the accommodation.
As a result, guests can enjoy the personal touch of face-to-face assistance without having to seek out a member of staff in person.
With this service, video chat can be used for various transactions, such as:
- Inquiring about attractions and activities in the local area
- Arranging transportation and excursions
- Seeking recommendations for dining and entertainment
- Requesting assistance with any room issues or special requests
Virtual concierge services provide users with maximum convenience and enable more efficient communication and problem-solving.
By leveraging video chat in this way, hotels/resorts can deliver a forward-thinking guest experience that sets them apart from their competitors.
Video chat for travel in action: Industry examples
Now that we’ve covered the top use cases for video chat in the travel sector, let’s take a look at some real-life industry examples.
Here, we’ll explore how three leading travel brands have incorporated video calls into their customer service strategy.
1. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Established in 1848, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has a long-standing history in the travel industry.
With a reputation for providing tailored and unforgettable cruise experiences, Fred. Olsen has become one of the most trusted names in European travel.
The brand is famous for favoring smaller, more intimate ships than other cruise lines - and for its unwavering commitment to guest satisfaction.
As such, Fred. Olsen understands the importance of embracing new technologies to meet the evolving needs of its customers.
That’s why the brand’s contact center team recently decided to reinvent its online booking experience.
Previously, potential customers could only use phone calls or email to converse with Fred. Olsen’s Reservations Team.
Now, thanks to Talkative’s video chat, they can also seamlessly initiate face-to-face digital interactions via the Fred. Olsen website.
Anyone browsing the site can request a video chat with just a click of a button - as long as an advisor is available at that time.
What’s more, the addition of Talkative’s cobrowsing solution also allows participants to collaborate and share screens throughout a video call.
It means that Fred. Olsen’s digital customers can enjoy an unrivaled and personable online reservation experience.
2. Internova Travel Group
Internova Travel Group is an industry-leading travel brand representing over 6,000 travel agencies worldwide.
With headquarters in New York and a presence in 80 countries, Internova’s travel agencies are renowned for delivering exceptional service and expertise - both in-person and virtually.
As a result, customers browsing Internova’s travel agency websites will now be able to connect with expert advisors via their digital touchpoint of choice.
Thanks to video chat, Internova has been able to provide face-to-face virtual consultations, video bookings, and premium personalization to all its online customers - wherever they are in the world.
3. Istanbul Airport
Istanbul Airport is one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, designed to handle the growing demand for air travel in its region.
Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and world-class amenities, the airport is famous for providing flyers with an innovative and enjoyable travel experience.
In line with its commitment to deliver the optimal customer experience, Istanbul Airport launched a range of on-site interactive kiosks in 2019.
Positioned at various points throughout the airport, these self-service digital kiosks allow travelers to obtain live video chat support in a matter of seconds.
Users even have the option to communicate with airline executives in international sign language, providing ultimate accessibility and inclusivity.
The implementation of these video chat kiosks has not only taken the airport’s customer service to the next level - it’s also contributed to significantly reduced wait times and operational costs.
The takeaway: Getting started with video travel bookings
It seems that new technologies like video chat are paving the way for the future of the travel industry.
Thanks to video calls, businesses in the travel sector can combine digital convenience with the humanized experience consumers crave.
But in order to successfully provide video chat for travel services, you need the right software and provider.
That’s where Talkative comes in.
Our solution provides a complete suite of channels and capabilities that’ll empower you to connect instantly, and effortlessly, with all your digital customers.
As a primary feature of our platform, Talkative’s video chat solution comes with a myriad of innovative features - from advanced analytics to countless integrations, on-demand and scheduled video chat, and much more.
It means you’ll be fully equipped to engage and convert more travelers than ever before.
Want to learn more?
Book a demo with us today and discover how you can power premium video chat experiences with Talkative.