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Travel industry flexes artificial intelligence to help business travellers

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CHENNAI: The travel industry, it appears, is swayed by the power of artificial intelligence to help the users of online self-booking tool to gain total control of their corporate travel programme.

Aiming to empower the Indian business travellers, FCM Travel Solutions, the Indian subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), Australia introduced the essential Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for Indian business travellers to manage their Business Travel.

Phoenix, the online self-booking tool is the travel industry’s most comprehensive and innovative online corporate travel booking tool, delivering the broadest selection of travel content through an intuitive and easy-to-use online experience.

It gives users total control of their corporate travel program, by delivering travel content business travellers need while providing them with policy enforcement and robust global capabilities. Although, Phoenix has been launched in India and is currently catering to majority of FCM’s clientele, SAM will be launched in 2018 for both iOS and Android. The AI based chatbot called ‘SAM (Smart Assistant for Mobile)’ will be FCM’s 24-hour travel assistant designed to simplify life for corporate travellers by blending artificial intelligence with the expertise of a real FCM travel consultant.

Bleisure survey reveals changing business trips 
Evolving as a significant tool, Bleisure (business + leisure) is changing the Indian workplace culture, where travel for work is perceived more as an experience rather than routine. A report on India findings of FCM’s global survey on Bleisure Travel titled “The Bleisure Report, India by FCM” reveals that an increasing number of professionals in India are now extending their business trips for leisure, increasingly blurring the lines between business and leisure travel.

The key elements contributing to the rise of Bleisure not only includes growing work stress amongst employees or maintaining a work-life balance but also a certain technological advances enabling “work from anywhere,” which creates a win-win situation for both employers and employees. The study reveals that enhanced awareness about traveller behaviour and the need to balance business and employee needs is making corporates accept and document bleisure in their policies, however the acceptance is limited.

About 65.5 per cent of respondents said that they are allowed by their company to combine personal travel booking with business trip while 29 per cent respondents who had taken 1-3 business trips had extended at least one of their trips for personal travel.

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