Month: December 2017

Henry Shi

MEET HENRY SHI WHY? We’ve all experienced the frustration and tedium of trying to find a good hotel deal. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if someone just sent you the best deal? That’s what Henry Shi is bringing to the table. Shi, a former Google engineer, is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at SnapTravel, a SMS- and Messenger-based hotel booking platform. Yes, you read that right: no phone calls, no being put on hold – and no downloading an app. Shi’s SnapTravel leverages artificial intelligence to respond to queries about travel planning and hotel booking. And when the...

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Oscar

MEET OSCAR WHY?   Chatbots continue to become more and more prevalent in the travel industry, and Air New Zealand has jumped on the trend. In February 2017 the airline introduced Bravo Oscar Tango, or Oscar, an AI-powered chatbot to assist in answering frequently asked questions. What sets Oscar apart from many other chatbots is that he was released early in beta form; since he learns natural language and becomes more helpful through conversations, he develops and evolves with the help of Air New Zealand customers. Though Oscar is still in a relatively early stage, the Air New Zealand...

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Bionic Bar

MEET BIONIC BAR WHY? Robots have taken to the high seas. On four of major cruise line Royal Caribbean’s ships, the Bionic Bar has become a staple and guest favorite – in addition to being the first-ever robotic bartenders. Bionic Bar, first put to use on a ship in 2014, is manned by two robots, created by Italian robotics company Makr Shakr. Guests order their drinks on screens, and then get to enjoy the show as the robots – each with a name easily visible (on one ship, they’red called “Shaken” and “Stirred”!) – quickly make drinks with a...

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Jim Holthouser

MEET JIM HOLTHOUSER WHY? When the people in charge see how new technologies will help their company, exciting changes happen. Jim Holthouser, Executive Vice President, Global Brands, Marketing and Loyalty for Hilton, is one such person. Holthouser is working to enhance the Hilton customer and guest experience through exciting new technology – namely Connie, Hilton’s robot concierge making waves in the hospitality industry. Holthouser recognized the need to make the hotel experience easier on customers by eliminating things like waiting on line to talk to a human concierge in addition to the consistent need to help the hotel run...

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Bebot

MEET BEBOT WHY? Another chatbot concierge, Bebot (from Bespoke Inc.) is changing the way foreign visitors experience Japan. When staying at participating hotels in the country, guests get exclusive access to Bebot, who can chat with users and provide recommendations and information about the country in addition to helping communicate with hotel staff. Accessible through Facebook Messenger and other chat platforms, Bebot is powered by artificial intelligence and aims to improve the overall customer experience. With easy customization, Bebot is making travel in Japan easier and more personalized, and will no doubt continue to expand to more hotels throughout...

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