Sabre’s AI chat­bot to ser­vice agents

Travel tech­nol­ogy leader, Sabre Cor­po­ra­tion, is in the process of de­vel­op­ing an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) pow­ered chat­bot that would help travel agen­cies serve trav­ellers better and faster by ful­fill­ing their most com­mon ser­vice and sup­port re­quests wi

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Sabre Cor­po­ra­tion re­cently an­nounced that it is work­ing to­wards de­vel­op­ing an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) pow­ered chat­bot which will help the travel pro­fes­sion­als to let all their cus­tomers’ sim­ple queries and re­quests be an­swered by tech­nol­ogy and keep the big­ger and com­plex is­sues of their cus­tomers for them­selves. Sabre will ini­tially test the chat­bot with two travel agen­cies and the trav­ellers they serve.

Mark McS­pad­den, Vice Pres­i­dent – Emerg­ing Tech­nol­ogy and Prod­ucts, Sabre Cor­po­ra­tion, says, “Trav­ellers want tech­nol­ogy to de­liver a more seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially when man­ag­ing on-the-go changes and dis­rup­tions. So, to­gether with Mi­crosoft and our agency part­ners, we are ex­plor­ing how AI and chat­bots can pro­vide trav­ellers with the self­ser­vice so­lu­tions they want for rou­tine re­quests while help­ing travel agen­cies pro­vide per­sonal ser­vice to cus­tomers for more com­plex needs.”

One of the key chal­lenges in hu­man-com­puter in­ter­ac­tions is the abil­ity of com­put­ers to un­der­stand what peo­ple want and find rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion that con­nects to their in­tent. On top of that, travel ap­pli­ca­tions must recog­nise a plethora of unique terms and phrases that add com­plex­ity for in­dus­try ap­pli­ca­tions. While de­vel­op­ing this chat­bot, Sabre is lever­ag­ing Mi­crosoft Bot Frame­work and a se­lec­tion of Mi­crosoft Cog­ni­tive Ser­vices, in­clud­ing Lan­guage Un­der­stand­ing In­tel­li­gent Ser­vice (LUIS), which pro­vides sim­ple tools to build con­ver­sa­tional lan­guage mod­els that al­low any ap­pli­ca­tion or bot to un­der­stand user com­mands and act ac­cord­ingly.

“In­tel­li­gent tech­nolo­gies, like chat­bots, are aug­ment­ing the way com­pa­nies are able to in­ter­act with their cus­tomers,” says Lili Cheng, Cor­po­rate Vice Pres­i­dent, AI and Re­search, Mi­crosoft. “Sabre’s chat­bot is another great ex­am­ple of how AI can be ap­plied to help ex­tend busi­ness ca­pa­bil­i­ties and im­prove sat­is­fac­tion of trav­ellers.”

Two Sabre-con­nected travel agen­cies – Dal­las- based Travel So­lu­tions In­ter­na­tional USA and San Francisco-based Casto Travel – will test a white-la­bel ver­sion of the chat­bot with their trav­ellers, who will ac­cess the chat­bot via Facebook Mes­sen­ger. Trav­ellers will use the chat­bot for com­mon ser­vice and sup­port re­quests, such as chang­ing an ex­ist­ing flight reser­va­tion. The chat­bot will di­vert to a live travel agent if it is un­able to ful­fil a re­quest. “Trav­ellers are ea­ger to find ways to save time when handling travel lo­gis­tics,” noted Claire LeBuhn, Vice Pres­i­dent, Sup­port Ser­vices, TSI USA.

“TSI is com­mit­ted to eval­u­at­ing new touch­points and com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels to better serve our cor­po­rate cus­tomers and their busy em­ploy­ees. We are also in­ter­ested to ex­plore emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies that can help us im­prove the ef­fi­ciency and sat- is­fac­tion of our travel agents. By handling fre­quently asked basic sup­port re­quests, the bot will free up our agents to fo­cus on more com­plex, val­ueadded in­ter­ac­tions with trav­ellers. We look for­ward to test­ing the chat­bot and gain­ing a better un­der­stand­ing of how it can drive value for our cor­po­rate cus­tomers and for TSI.”

Through­out the test, Sabre and its part­ner travel agen­cies will eval­u­ate trav­ellers’ pref­er­ences per­tain­ing to how fre­quently they en­gage the chat­bot and when they di­vert to a live agent. This is not Sabre’s first foray into chat­bots. Sabre Hos­pi­tal­ity So­lu­tions is also building a chat­bot that would al­low trav­ellers to shop, book and en­gage with hote­liers through the most com­mon mes­sag­ing plat­forms, such as Facebook Mes­sen­ger, What­sApp, Twit­ter and SMS.

Mark McS­pad­den demon­strat­ing Sabre AI agency chat­bot at Mi­crosoft event

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