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Icelandair ushers in stopover bookings via chatbot on Facebook Messenger

Travelers are now able to communicate with a chatbot on Icelandair’s official Facebook page, allowing them to seamlessly book travel as if they are speaking with a travel agent, only faster and more convenient. The messaging service combines booking with frequently asked questions and customer service to provide a holistic and fully capable experience.

“We want to constantly improve the travel eco system for consumers, starting from the very beginning of their booking experience,” said Guðmundur Óskarsson, director of marketing and business development at Icelandair “Placing Icelandair ahead of the game and making flight bookings available through Facebook Messenger marks our commitment to Icelandair customers.”

Messaging customer bookings
Facebook Messenger users are now booking flights to Iceland and other overseas destinations directly through message threads. Icelandair’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger operates in a similar manner as a travel or booking agent, but in a manner congruent with today’s consumer behavior, meaning the experience is more natural to the modern user.

Users message Icelandair’s official Facebook page to start the process, which then prompts them to choose between talking to the chatbot or an agent. Those that select the chatbot can book their flights through a series of questions asked by the bot, starting with asking users if they would like to book a flight.

The bot sends users an introduction to stopovers, in an attempt to drive more stops to Iceland, that features an eye-catching photo of the Northern Lights and encourages users to click to learn more about the program or seamless booking. Users can click Book A Stopover to book one for their next flight right within the message thread.

The message service asks users if they would like to book a flight, and those that select Yes are then asked a series of questions such as type of flight, departure and arrival city, airports, dates and when they would like to book their Iceland stopover. Users are able to talk with an agent at any time by messaging “chat with an agent.”

Chatbot retail
DMI International similarly joined forces with a travel distribution technology company to implement natural language processing into a chatbot that leverages IBM Watson’s platform to respond to users’ hotel search requests (see more).

Pizza Hut also competed with Domino’s extensive mobile ordering capabilities by capitalizing on the growing interest in conversational commerce with a chatbot for ordering food delivery (see more).

“We know what platforms our customers use and want to embrace new ways to communicate and offer valuable interactions with them in that space,” Mr. Óskarsson said. “Through this thinking we hope to position ourselves as more than just an airline but as a software company and the launch of the Stopover Bot is another step towards our aim of customers being able to book a flight anywhere at any time.”