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Virtual Assistants are the latest travel aids

October 24 2017: The iPhone has Siri.  Microsoft has Cortana. Amazon has Alexa and  Google has Google Assistant .... all Artificial Intelligence-fueled  smart virtual assistants   that let users talk instead of typing their queries.  You can get the latest weather -- or order a pizza -- straight from your mobile phone, because these assistants are cross linked by their respective search engines  to dozens of e-commerce sites and information resources.
It was inevitable that   vertical  markets like health,  finance, travel  would see the compelling advantages of such smart mobile assistants.
One of the first has been the tourism/travel/logistics business and in recent months,  many solutions have appeared that  help travellers  get important information,  faster, more easily and in the language of their choice.  The main plus point of travel  centric  voice assistants  is that you can speak in an easy conversational style instead of trying to frame a complicated question into a sentence and then typing it into a search box. 
Some ready-made  templates have been created  that  travel service providers can then tweak to serve their customers.  UK-based  Active OMG  has created  an Artificial Intelligence-based app called Ami  which is fully conversational and learns on the job.  The company says website sales typically increase by 20% as result of employing Ami.  Ami can be looked upon as an "extra pair of hands , never sleeping, never tired, just getting on with the job".She comes with a fully equipped dashboard so you can control, optimise, and manage Ami to maximise  sales and customer service.
From Spain-headquartered SmartEcoMap comes another AI-driven smart virtual assistant,  Eco, that  talks to  travellers, understands their preferences, their needs, recommends activities, routes and places and gives information about the destination. It is geared to answer questions in real time about  weather opening times of attractions, nearby facilities like toilets or taxi ranks...
These templates  for smart voice assistants can be expected to be picked up the travel industry to  fuel  specific sites. But some Indian players are not waiting:
In August 2017, leading online travel company Yatra Online, launched a first for the Indian travel industry - a 'Smart Watch Wear App' for Android devices. The app gives users access to the booking flow of flights, hotels, buses, trains, homestays, activities and cabs.  The app also harnesses Yatra's Voice-led search and Booking Chat Bots .
And an Indian app  has   combined  live chat with humans and AI on  your mobile  device to offer a  compelling   online tool  to search, discover and book worldwide hotels, flights, curated itineraries and activities. It is called TripTapToe and  works with a global hotel inventory, from various suppliers and also from its own  direct deals with leading hotels.  The  Trip Tap Toe Concierge App, on Android & iOS lets you book hotels and  flights  by  chatting  with real people -- not  recorded voices--   from your smartphone. You can negotiate bookings in real-time, personalize your airfare booking, reserve seats and web-check in, book activities like sightseeing tours or recommended restaurants -- all  on Chat. If you have an early  check-in or a room upgrade request, just chat and it will be done before you arrive.

Indian travellers can soon expect to chat with intelligent 'bots' that will answer most of their  queries without the long waiting times that  human assisted customer care agents involve. Say hello to the robot  travel assistant!




    


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