As an aftermath of the recent Covid-19 crisis, the Travel industry, which helps humanity make its way to and from locations throughout the world, appeared to be in some trouble. Most continued to use human-intensive methods for cancellations and changes to flights.
In the recent times, the travel industry has increasingly relied on chatbots to understand the user intent and convert a non-invasive chat to a potential lead. The future holds unlimited scope for the digital travel sales industry, which projects to reach to an estimated US$855 billion in 2021, making way for enormous possibilities for technology inclusion.
The coronavirus crisis has left the travel industry stare at massive cancellations and change of travel plans. This has led to airlines issuing refunds of even the non-refundable pre-paid reservations. Processing these refunds manually can be tedious especially in testing and stressful times like now. The increased number of complaints against the travel industry happened because they did not invest in digital transformation or if it’s a deliberate high-touch method that leads to high wait times that help deter changes or cancellation questions. From an investment standpoint, this is not revenue-generating, and most bookings are non-refundable with their end providers — the airlines and hotels. The Coronavirus pandemic changed the dynamic of airlines and hotels, who allowed changes to non-refundable reservations and these travel providers just couldn’t keep up the pace! The travel industry needs to sit back and asses the lacunas of their legacy systems. In the uncertain future times to come it is not just the travel industry but industries both big and small across geographies, which need to assess their existing business continuity plans (BCP) to fight any pandemic without hurting their operations
RPA and IPA- The Potential Automation Solution
Technology enabled intelligent automation of these manual business processes like refunds or cancellations, can be a saviour for many of these travel companies. A great example is Airbnb, which seems to be changing its cancellation policies with almost a push of a button. Costco reacted well to the issue and came up with some interim option using Google Forms to help its customers cancel their travel plans with an ease. These quick web forms and automated chatbots collect information from the affected users to be processed by humans. The status is updated via an email response or through an online web query. Expedia also seems to be handling the situation well with virtual chat agents. Technologies such as RPA can help build quick connections between different enterprises and it integrates well with chatbots to take inputs and to provide responses back to the customer. These solutions don’t take long to develop and can help relieve the stress to humans who must do the intensive manual tasks of cancelling and rebooking without any major errors.
In uncertain times like these, with pre-occupied and stressful minds, human workers can make errors working under tense environments. Such an unpleasant situation can be avoided by automating the tedious manual business processes. Intelligent bots can perform these rule-based processes and can be scaled up according to the needs of an enterprise.
Implementing automation does not restrict to the travel industry alone, it calls for a wider scope of the current manual processes. Automation solutions find its use-case in the Medical industry automating patient monitoring, claim handling processes, automating inventory management and invoice processing in Manufacturing, or helping the Banking industry with customer onboarding and loan origination process
The Worker compensation claims can skyrocket and so will the businesses requesting insurance modifications to deal with the future scenario. Automation technologies such as RPA and Chatbots can play a key role in responding to such scenarios faster than new system builds. The technology is there for the taking and it will be interesting to watch how these enterprises seek to take help with the Automation technology and most importantly how the Automation Industry rises to the challenge.
Gone are the days when Bots were considered as a job killer, in the dynamic times to come Automation will be a Job Protector alleviate the burden and pressure on the human workers, allowing them to continue to touch lives better. This, in turn, will help companies respond better to crises and serve their customers’ needs at a faster pace increasing brand loyalty and longevity!