FCM announces next phase in chatbot Sam deployment, including Travel Manager features

FCM Travel Solutions has announced that it is enhancing its AI ‘pocket travel assistant’ application Sam with extra features for use by travel managers. This is in response to client demand for greater visibility of their travellers in-trip and dovetails with the global travel management company’s FCM Connect technology strategy to meet the needs of managers, bookers and travellers.

Sam blends a powerful mix of Artificial Intelligence with the expertise of real FCM travel consultants to deliver personalized, relevant information to business travellers’ mobile devices through a chat-based interface.

The new version for travel managers, EAs and bookers will help enable them to manage their current travellers and itineraries, so that they are aware of potential issues, can take appropriate action or communicate directly with the traveller to ensure their wellbeing.

Meanwhile the premium version of Sam for use by FCM clients’ travellers, which was launched via the global app store last November in the UK, USA, Canada, France and Switzerland, has now been deployed in an additional five countries: Ireland, Belgium, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. By the end of April 2018, Sam will be available to FCM customers in a further seven markets including Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Poland.   Sam’s premium features include auto-synching the traveller’s bookings, integrated self-booking tool, live chat with an FCM consultant to provide service and make or amend bookings on the move; and the option for the user to ‘share location’ via FCM’s Secure risk management technology.

Sam will also soon provide enhanced traveller safety and duty-of-care features as the app will recognise the user’s location via a blend of itinerary information and GPS and match this to any critical incidents, triggering real time relevant alerts with an ability to respond with appropriate action for the individual traveller.

Another new feature in the pipeline is Sam Community – a chatbot assisted ‘community’ for business traveller users to share tips and advice, anything from flight delay updates, to quiet and comfortable places to rest or the best place to find power-points in an airport to charge a laptop. Click here for a video explaining Sam Community.

In other new developments, FCM is also looking to build on trial integrations with Facebook’s Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa by piloting the integration of more NLP-based (natural language) booking flows within Sam, as well as developing a WeChat version for the Chinese market.

“Our primary focus is on ensuring Sam is consistently updated and relevant to the needs of business traveller users. FCM’s whole philosophy around the development of Sam was the need to support business travellers and give them an enjoyable experience on the move, making the whole process of business travel as stress-free as possible.” said Michel Rouse, CTO EMEA, FCM Travel Solutions.

“However, we are also developing a version of Sam for travel managers in response to demand from our clients to use its capabilities so that it is relevant and useful to bookers, EAs and managers who need to stay up to date with their travellers throughout their trip,” added Rouse.

“At the same time we are making sure Sam stays at the forefront of emerging technologies, by looking at ways to integrate innovations such as NLP (Natural Language Processing) and fast-developing opportunities such as on the WeChat platform in China,” he said.

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story of sam | business travel chatbot | FCM Travel Solutions

White Paper: the story of Sam

When the idea was conceived back in late 2015, the brief for Sam was clear: create a mobile application for both Apple’s App Store and Google Play that will put business travellers' needs first and put all the information, documentation and advice they need in one place in a fun, friendly, informal and easy-to-use way.