Lufthansa brings Mildred to the chat table
The chatbot enables users to search for flights over the next nine months and claims to find the cheapest flights.
Users can search by date and booking class as well as include details such as airports or home city and the idea is that Mildred knows the nearest airport Lufthansa flies from.
Travellers are then redirected to the Lufthansa mobile website to make a booking.
The airline says Mildred uses natural language processing, via Wit.ai, to understand English and German and recognise place names and dates. The bot also links to a database for the nearest airport Lufthansa flies from and uses Google geolocation database to recognise tourist attractions and other place names.
Mildred is in beta with Lufthansa using a test and learn strategy for the service as users use different terminology to make flight queries as well as combine words differently.
Lufthansa Group-owned Austrian Airlines is also trialling a myAustrian Messenger service for flight search and customer queries.
Brand chatbots and wider messaging services have been the subject for many a conference panel in recent weeks.
At the same event, Skyscanner commercial chief Frank Skivington said KLM’s developments were refreshing but that most major airlines don’t have a mobile app or even a mobile optimised website.
Meanwhile, at World Travel Market in London this week, Tnooz co-founder and senior editor Kevin May talked about how chatbots and AI could be a disruptive force when it comes to customer service in travel.
At a later session, John Newbold of design experience firm 383 highlighted that travel companies need to cut through the hype surrounding chatbots and really look at the use cases and the user experience.
Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past eight years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.
In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.
Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.