Sabre Creates an AI-Powered Chatbot



Sabre, a technology provider to the travel industry, has developed an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that leverages Microsoft Bot Framework and Microsoft Cognitive Services. 

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 travelers, who will access the chatbot via Facebook Messenger. Travelers 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 fulfill a request.

Throughout the test, Sabre and its partner travel agencies will evaluate travelers' preferences for how often and 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 travelers with chatbots and solve for some of the most common hurdles that many industries face when it comes to chatbots.

"Travelers want technology to deliver a more seamless experience, especially when managing on-the-go changes and disruptions," said Mark McSpadden, vice president of emerging technology and products at Sabre, in a statement. "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."

"Intelligent technologies, like chatbots, are augmenting the way companies are able to interact with their customers," said Lili Cheng, corporate vice president of AI and research at Microsoft, in a statement. "Sabre's chatbot is another great example of how AI can be applied to help extend business capabilities and improve satisfaction of travelers."

This is not Sabre's first foray into chatbots. Sabre Hospitality Solutions is building a chatbot prototype that would allow travelers to shop, book and engage with hoteliers through the most common messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, and SMS text messaging, as well as voice assistants, such as Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Home.