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Research by Statistic Brain reveals that 57% of all travel reservations are made online, with 65% of same day hotel reservations made from a smartphone. Given the huge variety of choice for holidaymakers, searching for the a hotel that fits your criteria is a task that is easily optimised by search and comparison platforms. That said, we’ve seen a number of innovations moving away from the model of sites where users input their information, and towards designs that do more of the work. One such example is 30SecondsToFly, a smart bot that oversees all the admin of corporate travel, communicating with employees over text. Now TravelBuddy uses AI to select and text users with their best hotel options.
The messenger bot has a 3 step process. Users enter details about their trip: dates; city destination; and budget. TravelBuddy then gets back to them with a list of its top picks which are, according to the website, “Guaranteed to be best value for you.” In addition to this, the bot uses AI technology to analyze a customer’s previous travel experiences, budget history and frequent destinations, which can even be imported from Facebook, and offers a personalized travel itinerary. TravelBuddy faces competition from other travel apps like Lola which combines AI with expert human staff.
With a large number of inputtable criteria, the online travel industry has flourished with price comparison and booking platforms. Does the arrival of TravelBuddy and Lola signify that customers are looking for the next level of customer service – AI travel agents who do all the hard work of finding suitable travel plans on their behalf?