Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Trends -

CHAT BOTS This is the year that “chat bots” will take off. Pow­ered by ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, cy­ber helpers are pop­ping up on web­sites across the travel in­dus­try – from Radis­son Blu Ed­war­dian’s concierge “Ed­ward” to Lufthansa’s “Mil­dred”, who will help you to find the cheap­est flight.

Chat bots speak to you via in­stant mes­sag­ing plat­forms such as Face­book Mes­sen­ger. KLM’s will tell you when it’s time to check in, ping you a board­ing pass and change your seat if you ask nicely.

The tech isn’t per­fect yet – Mar­riott’s first chat bot, launched in March last year, was killed af­ter it started pri­vate-mes­sag­ing peo­ple to ask if they wanted to book a ho­tel. It has since been dis­ci­plined and given a job in the Mar­riott Re­wards depart­ment. Other com­pa­nies em­ploy­ing chat bots in­clude Aeromex­ico, Book­ing.com, BA, Ex­pe­dia, Hy­att, Ice­landair and Skyscan­ner.

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