Corporate Traveller introduces ‘Sam:]’ chatbot service for South African SME corporate travellers and travel arrangers

Close-up of business executives holding digital tablet and mobile phone
3 min read

Corporate Traveller is rolling out travel chatbot Sam:] to its customers across South Africa.

Sam:], Flight Centre Travel Group’s Smart Assistant Mobile app, was first launched to customers in the UK and USA in 2018. It proved to be a game-changer, with many clients saying that Sam:] ‘saved’ them during their business trip by being the first to alert them to flight delays and disruptions. The app was awarded for the ‘best user experience’ at the 2019 Mumbrella Travel Marketing Awards in Sydney, Australia

Now, the friendly and intuitive chatbot is set to revolutionise the lives of Corporate Traveller clients in South Africa with live updates. “No other travel management company (TMC) in South Africa offers this kind of ground-breaking support to SME business travellers,” says Oz Desai, General Manager Corporate Traveller South Africa. “Most TMCs only support a traveller reactively if they need a flight booking changed during the trip, or to send an impersonal or generic travel alert.”

Desai adds: “What makes Sam:] different to any other mobile travel app is the way it provides contextual information to our travellers. It aggregates all relevant information a traveller needs in one place at the point when the user needs it.”

Sam:] is programmed to keep travellers updated at all times, from weather updates at the destination to information on the traveller’s departure gate, flight time changes and where to collect baggage. The app will also suggest which restaurants and attractions to visit, alert travellers about traffic delays and will soon be able to connect travellers with a consultant via a live text or phone chat if the need arises.

Each Sam:] user can share their travel tips and finds with fellow travellers. Sam:] presents this information to the traveller based on their context so that only relevant pieces of data are presented to the user. The more a traveller uses Sam:], the more intelligent the chatbot becomes, and the information delivered to the user is even more personalised.

Also for travel arrangers, Sam:] offers support and guidance. A new functionality was recently introduced to support travel arrangers within Sam:] and offer them greater visibility of their travellers in-trip. The new version grants travel managers, PAs and bookers access to view their current travellers’ itineraries, as well as receive notifications about events that affect each traveller, such as flight delays or cancellations. The app prompts travellers to report they are safe via a push notification. One tap later, the travel manager is informed about the status of each traveller. As a result travel arrangers can take appropriate action or communicate directly with the traveller to ensure their wellbeing.

The roll-out to Corporate Traveller customers follows Flight Centre Travel Group’s full acquisition of Sam in 2019, which allows the Group to use and develop the functionality of the product in line with the needs of its clients.

Says Desai: “We’re thrilled to bring the Sam team fully into the Flight Centre family. We’ve worked closely with the team and product for many years now and look forward to continuing to drive mobile innovation for all our clients through the platform.”