Booking.com's service and support chatbot, the Booking
Assistant, is now widely available on its mobile app, Facebook Messenger and
the Booking.com website.
The Booking Assistant uses facets of artificial intelligence
to help answer customers' questions.
Right now, the chatbot can respond to 30% of customers'
hotel-related questions in under 5 minutes, Booking.com said. When the chatbot
can't answer a question, it "pulls in support from either the Booking.com
customer service team or the property, adding their response directly into the
conversation." The chatbot identifies the source of the information.
It is programmed to answer frequently asked questions on
payment, date changes, transportation, pet policies and Internet availability.
According to Booking.com's research, "50% of consumers
don't mind if they deal with a real person or a computer, so long as their
questions are answered."
"For us, [artificial intelligence] is not about
replacing human interaction, but is instead a vehicle to facilitate an even
more personalized, instantaneously gratifying and frictionless travel
experience for consumers," said James Waters, global director of customer
service at Booking.com.