“Download our app and save 30 percent on your first hotel booking”, said an advertisement I came across last night while looking for hotels. So I downloaded the app, made the booking and uninstalled it right away. They paid a good amount to get a download which didn’t last even 10 minutes. While many travel and ecommerce brands are investing heavily into developing excellent apps, they are failing to retain the customers. Once can’t even blame the customers with so many brands coming up with their travel apps. Studies suggest that a majority of users are spending most of their time between a handful of apps and that the apps are fast approaching the wall.
As the opportunities to monetize apps fade, developers are looking at bots to come to the rescue. The bots similar to the ones we are used to deal with on platforms like Slack and Telegram. The bots on Telegram are free to use and you can simply deal with them like they were humans. According to some developers, bots are relatively easier to develop however it is a challenge to market them.
This topic has picked up interest again because it is rumoured that Facebook might announce Facebook Messenger Bots for its Messenger app very soon. If Facebook chooses to do that, it could very well mark the beginning of a new era. The bot store, if it arrives will have great consequences. Chat platforms like Facebook Messenger are already very popular (800 million monthly active users) and as people already spend a lot of time using it, the combination seems to be heading for a win.
If Facebook opens up the platform to developers, the new ecosystem would allow travellers to quickly interact with brands. Need a flight? Check with the Skyscanner bot. Hotels? Booking.com might want to send you some excellent options over chat.
Bots will allow for instant interaction as users don’t have to wait for any app to download before actually starting to use the service. WeChat has been doing something similar for a while but they don’t have strong influence in west. Facebook might just change that. Expect the announcement on April 12 if there is one. Your favorite social platform might just change again.