Corporate Travel Management News and Tips

Alexa for Business Has a New Skill: Business Travel

April 9, 2018 | For Travel Managers, For Travelers

As of early 2018, 39 million Americans own a smart speaker, like those of Amazon Echo or Google Home. Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, is making once-manual tasks voice activated. Things like setting timers and knowing the weather are easier than ever.
To use Alexa to her full potential, it’s recommended to teach or implement “skills”. These skills range from games and fortune telling, to smart home commands and reading trending headlines.

Now, Alexa is going beyond the home and into offices and conference rooms. Amazon’s assistant offers a new skill courtesy of Concur: supporting business travelers. For travelers and those using a travel management app, Alexa can give them their trip details in seconds. Keep reading to learn more about Alexa’s new skill.

How Alexa is Supporting Corporate Travel Agencies

Road warriors are dependent on their TMC’s travel management app while they’re abroad. It gives them critical information like their flight number, hotel confirmation code, and transportation details. But travelers don’t just need that information in the new city; they also need it in the hours and minutes leading up to their departure. They can ask Alexa what time they need to leave their location to ensure they don’t miss their flight.

Once Alexa’s corporate travel skill has been set up, travelers use a trigger phrase like, “Ask my TMC…” followed by their question. Alexa answers questions that travelers once had to dig through their app to find. The AI assistant sifts through its user’s information and delivers the right answer in seconds. Although travelers cannot yet book flights and hotels through their smart speaker, it’s a very real possibility in the near future.

The Technical Details of Implementing Alexa for Corporate Travel

You might be wondering, “How does Alexa know my personal travel information?” You must first link your TMC account to your smart speaker. Once you’ve done this, Alexa will recognize your voice and pull the appropriate information at your request.

Although AI, bots, and smart technology are in full force in the travel industry, not all TMCs are Alexa-friendly yet. Just because you have a travel management app through your TMC doesn’t mean Alexa is ready to help. Ask your TMC if they are one of the companies taking part in Amazon’s beta program. Alexa for Business is still emerging, and the parent company is still ironing out the kinks as there’s a spectrum of tools and capabilities available.

Other Ways Alexa is Assisting Corporate Travelers

Not only is Alexa helping travelers get to their destination, but it’s also supporting them once they’re in the conference room. Powered by Amazon Echo, Alexa for Business is just the scratching the surface of its abilities. Traditionally, professionals used their phones and computer screens to get a meeting started and make calls.

Now, Alexa is taking out the manual step of dialing a number and starting a screen share.

Partnering with PolyCom, users can make requests like, “Start the meeting,” and Alexa will call the other party using the designated conference line and power up the virtual meeting software.
The company is encouraging interested companies and professionals to join their user group where they can create personalized “skills” for Alexa based on their needs. To make it as customized as possible, Alexa will create employee profiles. This capability gives users the option to combine their Outlook calendars with Alexa, retrieving meeting details anywhere, anytime.

Partner with a Forward-Thinking Travel Management Company

It’s only a matter of time before all TMCs are interoperable with Alexa, Adelman Travel included. Our travel management app gives you your corporate trip details at your fingertips when it’s convenient for you. For over three decades, we have been making corporate travel easy for our clients whose travelers range from 50 to 70,000 and more. Get in touch with Adelman today to see how you can make corporate booking a breeze!