It’s time for BOTA! – Twissen Season Report Winter 2017

Artificial intelligence and robots are catching on in the Travel & Tourism industry, starting to change users’ behaviour, services and, above all, business models.
The robot which serves meals in hotels is here. Its name is AURA, it is owned by M Social, and we can find it in Singapore. Nowadays we can also find robots in airports, in particular in Asian ones, and are able to provide several services, from the check-in to giving information.

Robots are increasingly being developed in other sectors, too. Recently, eMarketer realised a survey in the USA and UK, discovering that more than 90% of respondents thinks that being able to chat with the hotel is very useful. Perhaps this is the reason why, in February, Mercure launched a BOT for Messenger, following Expedia, Kayak and Skyscanner, which has also signed an interesting deal with Skype.

There are many new startups, such as SnapTravel, HelloHipmunk, Mezi, KimKim, Pana or BoltFare… and the list would be longer than this.

Many groups of users, especially the youngest ones, think that chats are a very immediate and efficient tool, and we can expect that their usage will be unrestrained. In fact, it is perceived as quick, discrete (if compared to voice assistants) and, in particular, it fits into the mobile trend, which definitely became the most used tool for online researches and will soon become the preferred one for booking.

We are already observing new distribution business models based on chatbots, actual mobile-focused OTAs, namely chatbOTAs… that we are going to call BOTAs! In fact, in spite of the consolidation phase which saw the rise of integrated colossus in the USA, such as Expedia, Priceline and Aribnb and in China, such as Ctrip and Alibaba, technology and a good dose of creativity can create room for new solutions and, in particular, new brands.

In the Report you can also find about:

  • It’s time for Bota!
  • Wi-Fi on board, now also in airplanes
  • Mega Online Travel Retailers VS Travel Market Platforms
  • Indian Summer
  • Cruises: innovation through product
  • Mobile is the strategy
  • Emerging destinations compete for cycling tourists
  • Student travel: a profitable target for hotels and OTAs
  • Travel Ban adds uncertainty to US tourism




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