How to reach the largest number of people without downloading the app? KAYAK has the answer!

Matthias Keller Kayak
Matthias Keller, KAYAK Chief Scientist: The Man Behind Company Chatbot / KAYAK

Have you ever wondered how many times you opened an instant messaging application today? Facebook has just reached a billion active users and investing in such a platform is a big incentive for service companies. According to Matthias, the big deal for KAYAK by offering a bot service on a Facebook chat could reach a large number of people without having them download the company's app:

"Platforms such as Facebook Messenger allow us to build very rich experiences that closely resemble the use of our native application, even without having to install it: Messenger's conversation history makes it possible to recap previous interactions and access itineraries during a trip, Push messaging allows us to assist our users during their travel by being able to send flight status alerts in real time. "

Pull your smartphone out of your pocket and search for a flight in seconds

If you are used to traveling, you should remember all the times you had to stop everything you were doing to access a ticket or hotel search service. Using KAYAK Chatbot, the idea is that, no matter where you are, you just have to pick up your smartphone and ask about a flight from Rio de Janeiro to So Paulo and the answer will be almost instant and offer a variety of options.

Facebook Messenger allow us to build very rich experiences

messenger bots 1
The machine still has trouble discerning between questions, working only with specific commands / AndroidPIT

Machine vs Human

However, we are still in the early days of this technology. After a while testing the KAYAK bot service on Facebook Messenger, I realized that the user experience is clearly with a robot. According to Keller, the company chose to use artificial intelligence technology already known to team members over a joint human approach:

"In December last year, KAYAK kicked off KAYAK Snap, a human-only messaging-based travel agency service. On the other hand, our offerings for Amazon Alexa, Slack and for Facebook Messenger are made only by Artificial Intelligence (AI) these days. Using Artificial Intelligence blends more with KAYAK DNA than being a software company that solves complex problems using technology at scale. "

However, it must be said that the use of humans in conjunction with artificial intelligence has already proven effective when the subject contextualizes a situation. For example, I have spoken here on the site several times about my experience with Go Butler, today, who uses a kind of tele-service to offer a service. The service works via SMS and, as on the other side, besides robots, we had people, the answers are 100% consistent with the question. However, the company no longer provides this program.

Using Artificial Intelligence Blends More With KAYAK DNA

Using the KAYAK Facebook Messenger bot, however, I have the impression that I am talking to a machine. And, I have to say, I didn't like it much, because since I chose to use this travel button over another, I would like the option I chose to be the one that best suits me. And the communication was not so complex that the robot could not have a friendly conversation. When it said it needed to "think" about options, the system quickly looked for tickets to "Think" in Finland!

Our chatbot gets smarter as more users interact with it

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The search for terms still confuses the bot, "thinking" has turned into a search for Finland / AndroidPIT

Bots are recent, but research advances fast

However, services that make use of buttons are still recent. Just as we have seen Google try to bring Google Glass as a consumer option to market and, so far, fail, chatbots are a new technology with a lot of potential. And the KAYAK people know this and are constantly improving this service. When asked what changes Matthias and his team could make now on the KAYAK bot, the company's chief science officer says that the more people who use the service, the smarter it becomes, and therefore more accurate:

"KAYAK Snap, as well as Amazon's Slack and Alexa interactions gave us an edge over natural language processing technology and made us question the design of our product. So we intentionally hope to launch our Messenger only when we are satisfied with its functionality and the overall quality of the user experience.Our chatbot is certainly not perfect, and users bump into disagreements between humans and machines every day.Fix problems as they appear to our greatest priority, along with improvements being delivered every day. As a result, our chatbot gets smarter as more users interact with it. Overall, the Messenger launch was a great success, and due to our interest in non-US markets. USA, we were able to focus on more languages ‚Äč‚Äčand locations very early in the process. "

KAYAK is now integrating this new technology with Amazon's Facebook Messenger, Slack and Alexa. However, I couldn't help asking Matthias about working with the Google platform presented during the Google IO. According to the KAYAK scientist, the chances are high:

"Before taking our product to new platforms, we always consider what kind of experience it will allow us to build, if this experience meets our expectations, and more importantly, if this experience brings anything of value to our users. This scenario, as it should , it's happening very fast, and we will continue to evaluate the platforms as they become available. "

Finally, it should be noted that KAYAK is not the only branch service to exploit the Facebook Messenger chat service, we have Skyscanner and Booking working in the same area. Airlines such as KLM are already exploring such technology. In Brazil, for example, GOL Linhas Areas already uses a Twitter button system for online check-in. Even Booking is a KAYAK partner in this regard.

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On suggestions of what to do in the city you are visiting, KAYAK redirects you to the

When I questioned Matthias about KAYAK's competitors in this market, the answer was clear: "We don't comment on specific competitors." However, he did tell me a little about the differences in his product from other services:

"KAYAK chatbot distinguishes itself from other travel buttons by supporting user while (1) is looking for inspiration (KAYAK Explore, best time to fly, month search, country search), (2) to find and book trips (flights, hotels, cars, and activities), and (3) manage your travels after booking (KAYAK Trips and itineraries, real-time flight status alerts) all within one solution. "

KAYAK Chatbot responds in three languages ‚Äč‚Äčnatively: English, German, and Portuguese. The content is also located in (currency, local outlets …) in various countries, such as the United States, England, Germany, Brazil and Australia:

"The KAYAK Messenger bot is available and located in the US, UK, Germany and Brazil versions. All versions of our bot can be used anywhere in the world by starting a conversation with the KAYAK Facebook page. Messenger. We are constantly adding more languages ‚Äč‚Äčand localized content to our chatbot. "

To use KAYAK chatbot on Facebook Messenger now, simply access your messenger profile, click on your code, then select the "read code" option. On another device, go to https://www.kayak/messenger and scan the code. Okay, you can now use the KAYAK bot in your messenger.

Conversion vs Effectiveness

Of course we still have a lot to know about this technology, after all we are just at the beginning. It's too early to talk about how companies like KAYAK will monetize such services, since we don't have chatbots, but partners or products. Well, at least we don't have banner advertising as we find in apps and websites.

With the large number of people using messenger services, we tend to have these chatbots increasingly present in our lives. After all, it is much easier – and faster – to have a machine doing a more accurate and accurate search service than standing in front of the computer analyzing prices at different airlines, hotels or even entering the city's official website to find out the value. from a tour guide.

But we have to have patience. Or we get used to the machine's contextless answers, but mostly effective; or we give up something valuable by not wanting to deal with this artificial intelligence: our time.

And, have you ever used KAYAK's chatbot service on Facebook Messenger? What do you think? What are the chances of you having this service enabled in your Messenger?

. (tagsToTranslate) kayak (t) chatbots