Sabre Corp., the Southlake-based travel technology company, announced this week that it has developed an AI-powered chatbot that gives users a tool to add intelligent and conversational features to their apps.
A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate a conversation with a human, particularly via the internet, and Sabre’s chatbot leverages the Microsoft Bot Framework and Microsoft Cognitive Services, the company said in a release.
Sabre said it will initially test the chatbot with two travel agencies and the travelers those companies serve.
“Travelers want technology to deliver a more seamless experience, especially when managing on-the-go changes and disruptions.”
“Travelers want technology to deliver a more seamless experience, especially when managing on-the-go changes and disruptions,” Mark McSpadden, vice president of emerging technology and products for Sabre, said in the release. “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 complex needs.”
In its chatbot, Sabre said it is leveraging Microsoft Bot Framework and a selection of Microsoft Cognitive Services, including Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS).
Sabre said that a key challenge in human-computer interactions is the ability of computers to understand what people want, and to find information that is relevant to the user’s intent.
It said that travel apps must recognize many unique terms and phrases, that make industry applications more complex, and that LUIS provides tools to create language models that allow applications or bots to understand commands and to act accordingly.
“Intelligent technologies, like chatbots, are augmenting the way companies are able to interact with their customers,” Lili Cheng, corporate vice president of AI and research at Microsoft, said in the release. “Sabre’s chatbot is another great example of how AI can be applied to help extend business capabilities and improve satisfaction of travelers.”
“Sabre’s chatbot is another great example of how AI can be applied to help extend business capabilities and improve satisfaction of travelers.”
Sabre has selected two travel agencies — Dallas-based Travel Solutions International USA and San Francisco-based Casto Travel — to test a version of the chatbot with travelers, who will access it via Facebook Messenger.
Sabre said that travelers will use the chatbot for common service and support requests, such as changing an existing flight reservation, and that the chatbot will divert to a live travel agent if it can’t fulfill a traveler’s request.
Sabre has ventured into the world of chatbots before.
The company said that Sabre Hospitality Solutions is building a chatbot prototype that can help travelers shop, book, and engage with hoteliers via the most-common messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, and SMS text messaging. It also will work with voice assistants, such as Amazon’s Echo (Alexa), Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Home.