Contacting Cathay Pacific from the UK is as easy as sending a WhatsApp thanks to its instant chat support messaging service. Olivia Palamountain reports

Since the autumn, UK residents have been able to use Cathay Pacific’s verified WhatsApp account as an additional channel to contact the airline, demonstrating a new direction for the future of customer service (particularly useful during the pandemic).

Customers can WhatsApp Cathay Pacific to make new bookings, amend or upgrade existing bookings, seek assistance on baggage queries, redeem Asia Miles and more – all in a single chat.

The WhatsApp service is available in the UK daily (excluding public holidays) between 9am and 6pm, using +852 2747 2747. In the summer, the service also became available to people in India.

Kinto Chan, regional general manager, Europe, for Cathay Pacific, says: “We always strive to offer our customers the convenience and the reassurance they value.

“The way we communicate has evolved and our customers have told us that in addition to phone calls, emails and social media, they would like to communicate with us through instant messaging.”

KLM was the first airline in the world to sign up to the WhatsApp Business platform back in 2017, now joined by a host of its peers including Virgin Atlantic, AirAsia and Spirit Airlines.

Airlines are not the only sector of the travel industry using chat services to ease customers’ experience.

Snaptravel, a Canadian travel start-up that books hotels for its customers using artificial intelligence via messaging services such as WhatsApp, has now booked more than 350,000 nights for its users in over 150 more countries.

Backed by Expedia’s CEO and an NBA all-star, Snaptravel also offers discounts of up to 50 per cent at more than 200,000 hotels worldwide with messaging-only pricing. Read Globetrender’s full story here.

In September, Mandarin Oriental became the latest hotel brand to connect with guests via WeChat – and the first to enable room reservations and payments via the app.

WeChat is the leading instant messaging app in China, with 1.2 billion active users. Further hotel companies that connect with guests via WeChat include Marriott, which allows guests to request butler service via the app at the St Regis Hong Kong. It has also introduced room service via WeChat at the W Shanghai the Bund.

At the Intercontinental Shanghai, travellers can user WeChat to check in or out, order room service and summon butlers.

The Mélia Bali partnered with WeChat Pay to enable guests to make payments via the app across the hotel’s facilities, including its spa, restaurants and reception. Find the full story here.

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE

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