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Sabre creates an AI-powered chatbot

In a bid to move with technology and time, Sabre Corporation announced development of an AI-powered chatbot that leverages Microsoft Bot Framework and Microsoft Cognitive Services.

These are a set of tools that organizations can use to add intelligent and conversational features to their applications. Sabre will initially test the chatbot with two travel agencies and the travellers they serve.

“Travellers want technology to deliver a more seamless experience, especially when managing on-the-go changes and disruptions,” said Mark McSpadden, vice president – emerging technology and products of Sabre Corporation. “Together with Microsoft and our agency partners, we are exploring how AI and chatbots can provide travellers with self-service solutions for routine requests while helping travel agencies provide personal service for more complex needs.”

In developing the chatbot, Sabre is leveraging Microsoft Bot Framework and a selection of Microsoft Cognitive Services, including Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS).

“Intelligent technologies, like chatbots, are augmenting the way companies are able to interact with their customers,” said Lili Cheng, corporate vice president, AI and Research at Microsoft. “Sabre’s chatbot is another great example of how AI can be applied to help extend business capabilities and improve satisfaction of travellers.”

Two Sabre-connected travel agencies – Dallas-based Travel Solutions International USA and San Francisco-based Casto Travel – will test a white-label version of the chatbot with travellers, who will access the chatbot via Facebook Messenger. Travellers will use the chatbot for common service and support requests, such as changing an existing flight reservation. The chatbot will divert to a live travel agent if it is unable to fulfil a request.

Throughout the test, Sabre and its partner travel agencies will evaluate travellers’ preferences for how often, when they engage the chatbot and when they are likely to divert to a live agent.  The companies expect to gain a better understanding of the best way to engage travellers with chatbots and solve for some common hurdles that many industries face when it comes to chatbots.