Amadeus aims to transition its original e-Travel Management
corporate booking tool customers to the Amadeus Cytric Travel
& Expense platform this year. Amadeus bought a majority stake
in Cytric owner i:FAO in 2014 and announced in early 2016 that
all development work would subsequently be devoted to Cytric.
Now, after expanding and evolving Cytric, including integrating
features from e-Travel, Amadeus is ready for its mass migration.
“2017 was the year of planning and building the ability to transfer
profiles, preferences, policies and so on to Cytric,” said Arlene
Coyle, Amadeus chief commercial officer for sales and marketing
to corporations. “2018 is the year when the big shifts happen.”
Asked when Amadeus will sunset e-Travel, a spokesperson added,
“We are on track to complete the transition by end 2018.”
Coyle said the upgraded Cytric is “a platform, not a booking
tool,” offering “multiple access points rather than being tied to a
single interface.” In addition to what she described as the “clas-
sic booking tool,” Amadeus launched Smart Trip in 2017, a ver-
sion of the three-click booking technology it developed for client
Daimler’s FiveStar project. Cytric also debuted on Salesforce in
July and, according to a spokesperson, will go live in Microsoft
By February, Amadeus also plans to roll out a trip assistant that
offers booking options in response to e-mails from travelers that
state the desired point of depar-
ture, point of arrival and dates.
“The key use case is a human re-
sources department running lots
of interviews,” said Coyle. “You
send [a proposed itinerary by
e-mail] to the interviewee, asking
if it’s fine; they say yes, and you
forward it to the booking tool.”
2017 also has seen the expan-
sion of Cytric’s geographic reach
and content. It launched in Ja-
pan and Singapore, but Australia
and New Zealand have been de-
layed until 2018 because of what
Coyle said is an unconventional,
matrix-led approach to fare filing
by Air New Zealand.
Non-global distribution system
content additions include Span-
ish national rail operator Renfe,
Italian train operator Trenitalia,
Swedish Rail and Swedish airport
taxi service Flygtaxi, as well as
low-cost carriers in Latin America.
Expense tool improvements in-
clude machine learning technol-
ogy that improves the accuracy of
optical character recognition of
scanned receipts from 60 percent
to 90 percent, Coyle said. Amade-
us also is working to allow travel-
ers to scan multiple receipts in one
go by recording video of them.
A month after Amazon launched Alexa for Business,
Omega World Travel is ready to debut a pair of tools to
help travel managers pull up traveler location information: its chatbot for smartphones and an Alexa-based
voice chat. They will go live once Amazon approves the
Alexa functionality, and the travel management company expects that to occur by the end of January.
“Even before they announced Alexa for Business,
I knew it was going to be leveraged for the business
environment,” said Omega VP of IT and data analytics
Nadim Hajje. Alexa has nearly 170 travel and transporta-
tion functions, which Amazon calls “skills,” but they’re
mostly currency guides and converters, flight and hotel
finders, navigation tools and trip planners and public
transportation, taxi and ridesharing tools. Concur was
among the first to develop a business travel skill; it
allows Concur subscribers to inquire about upcoming
business trips. Hajje noticed “there was nothing re-
ally around duty of care. … You can never really check
where your travelers are, where they’re going to be or
who’s in what city. That’s why we built our own skill.”
The chatbot allows a travel manager to use Web-
based chat on his or her smartphone to request a view
of travelers’ locations. The travel manager also can
ask for information on travelers by destination or flight
number. Travel managers can request the same infor-
mation by speaking to Alexa and can log on to Alexa on
their computers to see Alexa cards that display more
detailed information like airline, origin, destination, de-
parture time and arrival time.
A sample Alexa conversation:
Travel manager: Alexa, ask Omega to tell me where
my travelers are.
Alexa: You have 17 travelers across 17 locations.
Travel manager: Alexa, who is in London?
Alexa: There are two travelers in London. [States traveler names]
Travel manager: Get locators in London.
Alexa: There are two unique record locators at the airport. Please view the details in the Alexa card.
Travel manager: Alexa, what are the record locator
details for [Passenger Name Record] YVROZA?
Alexa: Record locator details can be found in the
The chatbot and Alexa both access traveler track-
ing data from the existing OmegaCare duty of care
platform, which pulls booking data from
Concur, Cytric and GetThere, as well as
off-channel bookings for which travel-
ers forward itineraries.
Ironing Out the Kinks
Omega’s Alexa skill is not perfect. As
with other voice-activated products, the
system doesn’t always hear the user correctly, so it may not retrieve the desired
information. But Omega is working on it.
The TMC has been piloting the chatbot
and Alexa skill internally but will continue to fine-tune them once Omega begins
beta testing with more clients, Hajje said.
Omega also is looking at other ways
to retrieve the content. Travel managers could receive a menu of options, for
example, rather than spelling out record
locators, which are prime opportunities
for Alexa to misinterpret.
And duty of care is only the beginning, Hajje said. Omega plans to build
more functionality into the Alexa skill,
such as year-over-year spend comparisons, which travel managers can access
through Omega’s data analytics product,
Omegalytics. “Whatever we do with Alexa, the same thing will get surfaced in
the chatbot, as well,” Hajje said. “Now
we have the knowledge in terms of what
it will take to do all these things.”
Omega World Travel Is Ready to Debut AI Duty
of Care Tools Once Amazon Approves Alexa Tool
BY JOANN DELUNA
Amadeus Is Ready to Migrate
E-Travel Users to Cytric