FCM Travel Solutions has announced the launch of Sam, a chatbot that blends artificial intelligence with the expertise of FCM consultants to deliver personalised, relevant information to business travellers’ mobile devices. Sam will be available in the second half of 2018.
According to the company, Sam is an interactive, travel-savvy and anticipatory “Smart Assistant for Mobile” that supports users with all aspects of travel via a conversational interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions. Sam assists business travellers pre, during, and post-trip with everything from itinerary management, air and hotel bookings, flight updates, local city and country information, local weather and restaurant suggestions, to security notifications, ground transportation, driving directions, immigration advice and vaccination status.
The more a traveller uses Sam, the more intelligent the chatbot becomes, so that information delivered to the user is even more personalised.
“The pace of evolution in mobile and smartphone technology is relentless and tech-savvy business travellers are already feeling the urge to use other consumer apps for booking flights and hotels, instead of their TMC,” explained Euan McNeil, FCM Travel Solutions South Africa GM. “At the same time, the smartphone era is transitioning towards the conversation era, meaning the way consumers communicate with apps is moving to a message-based approach. In fact, by 2020 we predict consumers will start feeling app fatigue and text or voice-based interfaces will be the new norm for communicating with the web.
“Sam aggregates all the information a traveller needs in one place at the point when the user needs it. It is fully integrated with FCM’s booking and expense management systems so that all bookings made via FCM consultants automatically appear in the traveller’s itinerary.”
“The conversational interface and relevance of the messages or questions that Sam exchanges with the user, gives travellers their own ‘personal assistant’ on the move. Sam is also configured in line with the corporate’s travel guidelines and will prompt the user to take actions that are within policy, thus improving compliance, controlling costs and supporting duty of care.”
Business travel is about people and FCM’s approach will still be about blending the latest technology with personal service. Users of Sam can call or message their consultant at any time for live assistance on the go.