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Thought Leadership

the power of screenless computing in travel safety

by James Barton / March 8, 2019

Whether it is Amazon’s Echo devices, Google’s Home or Apple’s HomePod, the invasion of screenless computing into our homes and lives is here.

As a very early adopter of an Echo device, I have felt the pain first hand of the early products, but I am delighted to see how it is maturing, and also just how many services are now available on it. 

Alexa offers in excess of 15,000 different skills, from turning off lights or closing the garage door, all the way to the inevitable purchasing of goods and services.

My question today, though, is how can the Travel Safety industry leverage screenless computing to help even more people travel safely?

Firstly, here are some stats:

  • 80% of businesses are planning to deploy some sort of chatbot by 2020
  • 63% of people would prefer to speak to a device than use a keyboard
  • By 2021, 50% of companies will be spending more on chatbots than on mobile apps

 

Chatbots In Travel

In the travel industry TMC’s, booking sites and airlines are starting to get in on the action as they recognise how important this shift in the user experience is going to be. Just try Expedia, KLM or Booking.com’s solutions to see what I mean. Smart, clean, efficient.

With this sort demand from travellers it makes sense that, as people who provide Travel Safety services, we also look to provide services. History has shown us time and time again that if we are not mindful of the future, the future will devour us (I am looking at you Blockbuster and Kodak).

 

Embracing Chatbots In Travel Safety

So, what do we do? Quite simple really. 

  • It is time for us to stop focusing on our needs and start focusing on the people we are trying to protect.
  • Let’s stop giving them multiple apps to access services (insurers, response, tracking etc).
  • Let’s start providing on demand services that allow people to complete something when it is convenient to them

I believe we have been complacent in our duties as an industry, mainly because we are focused on solutions rather than experiences, but it is time for us all to think how we can use this pervasive and disruptive technology to keep people safe.

 

Chatbot Charlie - The World's First Travel Safety Chatbot

Take for example eTravelSafety's Chatbot Charlie. In his first guise, you could ask Charlie about a travel safety topic like ‘what to do if you are kidnapped’ and he would respond with a suitable 90 second training video. Great!

But when exploring what travellers were actually asking, we found out that people actually wanted to know if their destination is safe.

So, in his second iteration, you could ask Charlie ‘Is it safe to travel to Japan?’. Charlie would then look at some live risk data and give the traveller up to date travel risk information AND would then recommend training videos specific to the highest areas of risk. Brilliant!

But not so. That was just whetting the appetite. Once Charlie had given them some information, the desire for more just got stronger.

And that is why the 3rd generation of Chatbot Charlie now contains not just the training, not just the live country data (although it is even more detailed then ever) but also access to live Travel Safety alerts.

This will allow the traveller to simply ask a question and get a 360-degree view of what they need to know about travelling to the destination and what they can do to mitigate the risk.

What’s next? Well with our new Travel Safe 360 product, we are looking to integrate both solutions, giving the travellers the ability to add a trip, get a personalised travel risk assessment and access the training, all without having to open an App.

If you are interested in having a play with Charlie and see how it could benefit your travellers, please go to https://www.etravelsafety.com/chatbot-charlie.

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.