Tigerair Australia has announced its charming new social media platform featuring its friendly mascot Toby, who is now a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
Those who have a Facebook account now will be pleased. They will be now have the ability to browse their itineraries via Facebook messenger. Luggage allowance, check-in options and more will all be available for viewing. The new platform, named ‘Toby’ after the airline’s mascot, aims to make the booking process easier for passengers. According to Tigerair’s commercial director, Toby acts as a passenger’s “personal travel consultant at any time of the day or night”.
As the process is only in its preliminary stages, not everything may go so smoothly. Tigerair will redirect passengers who encounter difficulties to the airline’s social media team and call centre.
According to one report, 97 per cent of airlines plan to offer mobile check-in, boarding and flight status notifications by 2020.
It is quite remarkable – especially if we keep in mind that airlines first tested electronic boarding passes in 2007. Continental Airlines were the first to offer this service on mobiles. Now, dozens of airlines offer the service.
Utilising social media platforms are arguably critical in today’s airline market for customer engagement. A 2016 report published by consultancy firm PwC identified three trends reshaping the business model for travel:
– Shifting customer behaviour in retail and business
– Changing dynamics within direct and indirect sales channels; and,
– The rise of (unsurprisingly) digital technologies
The report found customers used online channels increasingly for search and bookings. In particular, PwC identified KLM Dutch Airlines’ service of utilising Facebook messenger to check in and receive flight updates. Tigerair, as we can see, has followed this path.
You can read PwC’s full report here.
Social media and airlines no doubt make a profitable and customer-friendly partnership. We expect these types of innovations to flourish in the coming years.
Photo by Tony Hisgett on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons licence.