Chatbots and buying travel services online: Are consumers convinced?
February 10th, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

Chatbots and buying travel services online: Are consumers convinced?

Times and tech are evolving. With the AI market on track to reach the USD 500 billion mark by 2024, it is no surprise that AI and ML (machine learning) continue to become an integral part of business systems the world over. Hearing the siren call of greater cost savings and the increased efficiency of automating operations, brands like Frontier Airlines are starting to make the move from human interaction to customer service chatbots. But are consumers satisfied with this new customer service experience? Do they really think chatbots are useful?

A recent YouGov Surveys poll – conducted across 18 global markets - paints a grim picture. Nearly a third of consumers globally (29%) think that customer service chatbots would not be useful when purchasing any of the given categories of products or services online.

While the top spot among the purchase of products and services where consumers think using a customer service chatbot can be useful is occupied by mobile phones (16%) and electronics (16%), air travel and hotel services (15%) follow closely. This number continues to drop as we move down the list.

An equal but significantly lesser proportion of consumers believe in the usefulness of such chatbots when shopping online for medicines and healthcare products (11%), out-of-home entertainment services (11%) and cosmetics (11%).

Taking a closer look at consumers who selected travel services – air travel and hotels - by country reveals some interesting differences.

More than one in four consumers in the UAE (26% - the highest of all markets) think that customer service chatbots can be helpful while purchasing travel services online.

Much like their counterparts in the UAE, almost a quarter of consumers in Mexico (24%) and India (24%) believe in the usefulness of chatbots while shopping online for travel services.

However, unlike their neighbors to the south, less than a fifth of consumers in Canada (15%) and less than a tenth of consumers in the US (9%) believe that such chatbots can be helpful.

Consumers across APAC markets share similarly disparate opinions. While close to a fifth of consumers (18%) in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore think that chatbots can be useful when it comes to air travel and hotel services, consumers in China (14%) and Australia (13%) are much less likely to agree.

Though almost one in five consumers in Spain (18%) and Italy (17%) think customer service chatbots are useful when buying travel services online, such chatbots are yet to make a strong impact on consumers across other European markets – especially France (8%) and Great Britain (8%).

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 431 and 1,572 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in December 2022. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

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