Microsoft OpenAI Travel Tech Pilots in Airlines and Vacation Homes
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Microsoft OpenAI Travel Tech Pilots in Airlines and Vacation Homes

Microsoft now has partial ownership of OpenAI after investing billions of dollars in it. This investment gives the tech giant early access to generative AI. According to Skift, the technology now forms the basis for Microsoft OpenAI travel in companies.

Last month, OpenAI launched the newest AI model, GPT-4o. This past week, Microsoft said it had already integrated the model into Azure, the company’s software development platform.

Travel Firms Collaborations

On June 4, the Global Director of Travel, Transportation, and Hospitality at Microsoft, Shane O’Flaherty was among the speakers at the Skift Data+AI Summit held in New York City. Shane discussed the recent collaborations that Microsoft is having with travel firms. In the month of May, Microsoft showcased a virtual agent that uses GPT-4o at a conference.

The virtual agent leverages Microsoft OpenAI to allow users to have video and voice interactions with customers. For instance, a customer can hold up a pair of sandals and inform the virtual agent of an upcoming trip. The virtual agent recognizes the voice and video and recommends getting studier boots for hiking during the cold weather. It also makes suggestions for alternatives that can be added to the shopping cart.

Airline AI Chatbot 

Microsoft travel tech’s generative AI chatbot is also being used in the airline industry. Early this year, Air India expanded its AI chatbot from its website to a Whatsapp channel. The company uses the chatbot to respond to questions on 1,300 travel-related topics in English, Hindi, German, and French.

The airline receives 6,000 questions per day. Built using Microsoft Azure’s OpenAI service, Air India’s chatbot handles 80% of customer questions with only 15% being transferred to human agents.

“After the emergence of Large Language Model-driven Generative AI capabilities, we are increasingly seeing a definitive shift in guest preferences to use chat interactions to get the information and support they need quickly and directly as compared to browsing several web pages,” Air India’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Satya Ramaswamy said.

Users can use the chatbook to make bookings, check flight status, and enquire about baggage policies. It also gives users information about restaurants and landmarks to visit based on their destination.

Business Travel Bookings

Just recently, Microsoft started working with Amadeus on various OpenAI projects. Amadeus has partnered with Microsoft since 2021. The tech giant started piloting linkages with Amadeus’ corporate travel platform, Cytric Easy. The platform allows copilot users to utilize Microsoft Team’s natural language in booking business trips.

Software developers can integrate Cytric Easy capabilities into their products after the platform was added to Microsoft OpenAI service, Azure. This spring, Amadeus rolled out Microsoft’s AI assistant to thousands of its staff. This OpenAI travel tech can take notes in meetings and list points for follow-up. It also links Microsoft Office products and allows users to transfer information across them.

Vacation Rental Search 

Another area where Microsoft OpenAI travel tech is being deployed is vacation rental search. Earlier this year, Marriott Bonvoy launched an AI-powered tool developed with Microsoft Azure’s OpenAI. With over 100,000 homes and villas listings, the hotel focuses on luxury rental homes. A search bar that allows users to find vacation rentals using the AI tool has been placed on the hotel’s homepage. Users can search properties using general prompts.

Peter Hansley
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