by Joe Buhler, Principal, buhlerworks and Chief Product Officer, Digital Impact Solutions
In addition to Bentonville, AR; McKinney, TX; and Shreveport -Bossier, LA; Monroe-West Monroe, LA; will soon join the list of destination marketing organizations that have decided to market their city in a new innovative and effective way that goes beyond just presenting key visitor information in a more or less static manner on their website. These innovators are providing a chatbot delivered on the world’s largest personal communications platform, Facebook Messenger, used by 1.3 billion active monthly users. With a marketing chatbot, visitors can now get easy access to key destination information in a more personalized, conversational style and without an often time-consuming website search.
The chatbot highlights key content
The chatbot presents to them a wide range of information including main attractions, options for places to stay and eat, popular events as well as other useful visitor information right inside Messenger. Visitors can get directions to accommodation, restaurants and other featured places of interest from their own location while using the chatbot. They can also book a room, call a restaurant to reserve a table or an attraction for more information, right from within the chatbot on their smartphone. Another useful feature is that the information can be conveniently accessed again anytime in the future by just returning to and scrolling through the original chatbot conversation thread in Messenger.
An additional benefit, besides the interactive, personalized presentation of information to visitors, a chatbot also gives the DMO an additional new way of providing welcome exposure to some of their local service providers by featuring them in the chatbot. This can easily generate incremental business for those partners.
Besides these customer benefits, there are those for the DMO itself. A wealth of useful data, collected by the chatbot with the user’s consent becomes available for marketing purposes such as follow-up sequences within Messenger based on specific user interests, or outside using an email auto-responder for example.
Various access options exist
A chatbot conversation can be started by using various methods besides just clicking the blue Send Message button on a linked Facebook business page. A keyword or URL link placed inside a Facebook post or ad, putting the easily recognizable blue Messenger button, a pop-up window or entire landing page on any website are some of the more common ways. Simply put, anywhere a URL link can be inserted will start the conversation and get the visitor engaged.
As most of the chatbot interaction will take place on a mobile device another easy and very popular alternative to typing is the use of a QR code. This code can be scanned with the camera app on most smartphones or a free QR reader app. A further advantage is that a QR code can be used in printed material like window decals, table tents, at trade shows and on event name tags and more to draw attention to the availability of a chatbot.
The global audience is on Facebook Messenger
Messenger is increasingly becoming the secure method preferred by people to not only stay in touch with each other but to communicate with businesses of all kinds. According to Gartner by 2020 more than 85% of customer interactions with businesses will be managed without a human. Destination marketing organizations taking advantage of this growing trend by using chatbots as an innovative tool in their marketing communications tool kit will have a definite edge over their competition. It will allow them to offer visitors a more personalized, interactive way to experience the destination on the device they carry with them at all times, their smartphone.
To experience one of our destination chatbots first-hand just click on this link, preferably on a smartphone and to get in touch with Digital Impact Solutions simply scan the above QR code to start a conversation with our own chatbot.