Expedia has launched a new virtual travel agent tool that can solve simple requests from customers, allowing human agents more time to deal with complex queries.
The travel technology giant is integrating the virtual agent into its Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Programme (TAAP), as well as offering the service to other travel partners through the Expedia for Partners Template.
The artificial intelligence-powered tool can deal with requests such as making changes to travel plans or viewing a hotel’s hygiene information or amenities such as breakfast or parking.
So far, 45% of users of the tool have used it to cancel their trip, while 20% have reconfirmed their accommodation and a similar number have viewed their booking using the online chat function.
Early adopters of the technology have seen more than one-third (35%) of travellers’ requests being resolved through the virtual agent tool.
Ariane Gorin, president of Expedia Business Services, said: “The information and guidance travellers need to book a trip has increased since the start of the pandemic. At the same time, our travel partners have faced financial pressures and reduced headcount.
“Powering our partners today means providing them with new ways to meet traveller needs through automation and self-service, so that partners can spend their valuable time and resources where it makes the most impact.
“In the past six months, we’ve already seen over a third of traveller requests resolved through the virtual agent.”