Facebook’s Chat Bot Will Soon Allow You To Book Flights and Hotels Within Messenger App


Facebook’s head of Messenger, David Marcus announced a new function to Facebook Messenger; a payment function, reports Tech Crunch.

Essentially, it means that Messenger bots will be able to accept payments without sending users to an external website.

The credit card information that users already store in Facebook or Messenger can be used to instantly make purchases in bots that are part of the new closed beta, that developers can apply for. 34,000 devs have already joined the platform and built 30,000 bots in the April launch.

To support payments in Messenger, the company is working with all the major players in the industry including Stripe, PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and American Express. 

Facebook messenger payments

A back and forth with a bot can get you a pair of sneakers. Source: Techcrunch

Marcus also discussed Messenger’s rise to 1 billion users thanks to a forced migration from Facebook’s main app. All types of news feed ads can point to them and users can share bots they enjoy with their friends on Facebook. Developers can also build web views into conversations to pull interfaces from their websites.

Users can scroll through a list of flights, consume and engage with different types of media and play basic games while still in the chat window.

This capability is a part of the Messenger platform v1.2, within one thread, you have identity, transaction ability and the ability to draw UI and interfaces in one experience.

All these additional capabilities will help make Facebook Messenger bots live up to the promise of the overhyped platform. Marcus himself admitted that the bot got “overhyped very quickly, because developers weren’t given enough time or resources to build their bots before the platform went live.”

The welcome addition of web views and payments will show how travel bots, such as Hipmunk’s upcoming bot, can help consumers do things like find and book airline tickets and hotels, as well as show itineraries in the messenger application.

A version of this appeared in Tech Crunch on September 13. Read a full version of the story here.