Chatbot launched in South African market

Sam, FCM Travel Solutions’ AI chatbot, has been released in the South African market.

In January TAM reported on the new technology, which blends the skills of an FCM travel consultant with artificial intelligence, creating a mobile tool that can assist corporate travellers through a user-friendly interface.

Euan McNeil, gm of FCM Travel Solutions South Africa, believes “the smartphone era is transitioning toward the conversation era, meaning the way consumers communicate with apps is moving to a message-based approach”.

A video on the FCM Travel Solutions website gives an example of how the app will work. After alerting the user (via text message) to unusual traffic, Sam suggests that the traveller leaves in the next 30 minutes to make their flight on time. When Sam is told to change the flights, it offers the user a list of alternative flights, which can be selected from the app for booking.

Along with answering questions, and issuing prompts, Sam can also give the user personalised information before, during, and after their trip. This includes information relating to their flight, hotel, and ground travel bookings, weather updates, local information, suggestions on where to eat, the best driving routes, and even their vaccination status.

Sam can also be configured in line with a company’s travel guidelines and policies, prompting users to make bookings and travel in a more compliant way. “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,” says McNeil. 

By learning from user behaviour, Sam can provide a more accurate service, with more relevant and personalised information, the more the traveller uses the app.

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