Those words will soon become all too familiar to our users. We are excited today to announce our entry into voice with the launch of our SnapTravel skill for Amazon Alexa. You’ll now be able to interact with SnapTravel through the tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices that are on the market today.
As the leaders in conversational commerce, we are driven to create an exceptional and frictionless experience for our users regardless of the interface they prefer. It’s only fitting that we launch our first voice integration with Amazon Alexa, which launched Alexa alongside its Amazon Echo nearly four years ago.
The SnapTravel skill for Amazon Alexa is leveraging the Customer Profile API. This allows our customers to begin their hotel booking journey over voice using Amazon Alexa, and receive a link on their phone over SMS to complete the booking.
How does this work?
- User enables the SnapTravel skill on the Alexa Skills Store
- User says ‘Alexa, find me a hotel on SnapTravel’
- User interacts with SnapTravel providing city, dates, and is presented with the best hotel deal!
- User is prompted to continue the booking experience over SMS.
In order for SnapTravel to be able to help book your hotel on Alexa and maintain a seamless experience, we’ll send you a text message so you can complete the hotel booking process. You can grant SnapTravel permission to send you a text message through the Alexa app.
A very telling measure of success for consumer companies is their ability to get a user from point A to point B with as little friction as possible. When looking at the hotel booking flow, starting the search is a major point of friction. Here is a conversation which happens all the time:
“Excited for your trip? What hotel are you staying at?”
“I have been slammed! I haven’t had a chance to look into it yet”
One of the reasons this happens is because starting a search involves several steps. Sitting down at your desktop or pulling out your phone, opening a website or app, entering in your city, dates, adults, preferences… While this doesn’t seem like a lot of work, it is enough friction to give customers a reason to procrastinate.
Currently SnapTravel drives millions of dollars a month in hotel bookings over SMS and Facebook Messenger. We reduce friction by allowing users to chat with SnapTravel the same way they would chat with a friend in their existing messaging app. ‘I need a hotel in New York for next weekend with free wifi overlooking central park’. We are instantly able to provide customers with the best hotel options given that criteria. However there is still friction involved with pulling out your phone, opening a messaging app, and typing in what you are looking for.
With the launch of our SnapTravel skill for Amazon Alexa, users can now begin a search over voice. This significantly reduces the friction involved with starting a search. However, the reality is that some users would want to see pictures, reviews, or pick their room prior to booking over voice. In order to do this, they may also have to enter in information such as guests and contact details.
The Customer Profile API allows users to seamlessly begin the search over voice and complete the booking using a visual interface — keeping the customer in ‘Low Friction’ mode throughout the booking experience.
This is just the beginning
As voice services, natural language processing (NLP), and Machine Learning (ML) evolve over time, we will be able to reach an idyllic state for conversational commerce. A customer is able to say exactly what they want, and we are able to instantly present them with the best hotel options. They trust that we are providing them with the best recommendation at the best price, and the search to booking experience is reduced to seconds.
Bringing back the personal touch
Since the beginning of time, commerce has always been one of those actions that heavily consisted of people talking to each other and exchanging goods in the process. People had very personal relationships with businesses similar to how most people’s relationship with their barber/hairdresser is. Then the computer and smartphone revolution came along and made it easier to shop for anything online. Even though this made for a smoother user experience in most cases, that personal touch got lost along the way. We think commerce through conversations, whether voice or messaging, will help bring back that personal relationship and trust.
Conversational commerce is intuitive for our users since we’re not really teaching them to buy things in a new way, we’re just bringing back something that is more natural and instinctive.
Try out the SnapTravel skill now: https://www.amazon.com/Snaptravel-com-SnapTravel/dp/B07G1TP2Y2/
Who is SnapTravel?
SnapTravel is the leader in conversational commerce. By creating a delightful experience over conversational interfaces (SMS, Messenger, Alexa, WhatsApp) we drive millions of dollars in hotel bookings every month for millions of users around the world. Advanced natural language processing allows customers to interact with an intelligent bot the same way they would chat with a friend, enabling them to find and book the perfect hotel for their stay. The service is also backed by human agents who are available 24/7. SnapTravel raised $9.2M USD from leading VC’s and is one of the fastest growing e-commerce startups in the world.