Sabre on Thursday launched a pilot program of an artificial
intelligence-powered chatbot for travel agencies.
It is being piloted with agency Travel Services International
USA, which is using it for corporate clients who can access it via Facebook
Messenger or the agency's app.
"We believe the self-service convenience the bot offers
will improve travelers' ability to resolve routine support requests," said
Chad Callaghan, head of the Sabre Studios incubation team. "At the same
time, we are happy to help our travel agency customers ensure agents can focus
on supporting more complex traveler requests."
Sabre envisions that the chatbot will be used to fulfill
common requests, like questions about a trip, changing existing flight
reservations, requesting a special meal, picking seats and requesting an
If the chatbot cannot fulfill a request, a travel agent will
While it is being tested, both Sabre and TSI will track how
often travelers use the bot, and when an agent steps in.
TSI's bot is named Ella.
"Ella represents TSI's heritage of innovation and
commitment to exploring new technologies and tools that can help our corporate
customers and their busy employees," said Claire LeBuhn, vice president of
support services at TSI.
Sabre's chatbot leverages Microsoft's Bot Framework and
Microsoft Cognitive Services to understand users' requests.