Sabre is testing an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot with
two corporate travel agencies, enabling their customers to interface with the
bot for common service and support requests.
Sabre's chatbot leverages Microsoft Bot Framework and
Microsoft Cognitive Services, including its Language Understanding Intelligent
Service, which provides the tools to enable the bot to understand commands
about travel and perform the correct functions.
Two agencies are testing a white-labeled version of the
chatbot: Travel Solutions International USA in Dallas and Casto Travel in San
Francisco. Their travelers can access the bot via Facebook Messenger and use it
to complete simple tasks, like changing an existing flight reservation.
If the chatbot cannot fulfill the request, the request is
handled by a travel agent.
"By handling frequently asked basic support requests,
the bot will free up our agents to focus on more complex, value-added
interactions with travelers," said Claire LeBuhn, vice president of
support services at Travel Solutions International.
Throughout the testing period, the agencies and Sabre will
evaluate when and how often travelers use the bot. Sabre also said it will
track when travelers are likely to need an agent's assistance.
"Travelers want technology to deliver a more seamless
experience, especially when managing on-the-go changes and disruptions," said
Mark McSpadden, Sabre's vice president of emerging technology and products. "Together
with Microsoft and our agency partners, we are exploring how AI and chatbots
can provide travelers with the self-service solutions they want for routine
requests while helping travel agencies provide personal service for more
Sabre Hospitality Solutions is also building a chatbot
prototype for its hotel clients. It would enable hotels' customers to shop,
book and engage through messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp
and Twitter as well as voice assistants like the Amazon Echo.