Travel Agent NewsTravel businesses can utilise WhatsApp Cloud API to instantly serve customers and increase conversion rates.

Tech adoption need not be complex – just look at WhatsApp

Instant messaging can help agents better serve the needs of today’s travellers, who crave immediate responses and confirmation.
Instant messaging can help agents better serve the needs of today’s travellers, who crave immediate responses and confirmation. Photo Credit: Gettyimages/oatawa

With travel consumers becoming digitally connected and demanding instant responses more than before, travel agents should be where their customers are — and where else but WhatsApp where most online conversations take place?

WhatsApp parent Meta has unveiled a developer tool, WhatsApp Cloud API, which will enable businesses to message and chat with their customers more easily.

Not only can the new WhatsApp Cloud API be easily integrated within every business systems, the free tool is touted to reduce the API integration time from weeks to minutes. This can enable businesses to integrate the API within their back-end systems to make WhatsApp function as part of their communication and messaging strategy. They also can extend this to include SMS, other messaging apps, emails and more as a part of their bigger communication plans.

According to Meta, this tool can also help businesses “eliminate costly server expenses and help them provide customers with quick access to new features as they arrive”.

Businesses can also forgo the API entirely and use WhatsApp’s dedicated Business app that generate automated quick replies, greetings, away messages, statistics and others.

With additional fees, WhatsApp can also offer features like managing chats across multiple devices, customisable click-to-chat links, report analyses and etc.

Travel tech specialist Chan Chee Chong, CEO of GlobalTix, has been advocating for a greater digital uptake among travel suppliers in Asia.

Speaking during the recent CruiseWorld Malaysia 2022, Chan had singled out WhatsApp as an efficient and inexpensive way for travel players to engage customers in real time.

“WhatsApp Business is free, and you don't need to spend a single dollar", he said. "Sometimes you don't even need complex technology."

At the event, he also urged travel agents, tour operators and other travel players to start a WhatsApp business account or any other social media messaging platforms where customers can directly reach out to the relevant party.

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