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Expedia, Priceline impart travel info to mobile concierge service

Expedia and Priceline are lending their data to mobile concierge application Mezi, which blends artificial intelligence with real people to help provide customers with travel information that drives sales.

With startups and mobile dramatically changing the culture of retail, many retailers have been forced to work with outside platforms and others to stay competitive in the overcrowded market. Expedia and Priceline are working with a new mobile app that acts as a personal assistant to stay on top in the competitive travel booking industry.

“When consumers visit retailers they are overwhelmed with hundreds and thousands of options,” said Swapnil Shinde, CEO of Mezi. “[For example] a search for running shoes on amazon returns 200,000+ results.

“Research shows that 45 percent of consumers are overwhelmed with too many options and as a result, they are facing serious decision dilemma,” he said.

Mobile intelligence
Mezi is a mobile app and SMS service that allows users to interact with people and a chatbot to book travel, purchase items and get information. Expedia and Priceline are tapping into this database by providing Mezi with information regarding travel inquiries.

When a user opens Mezi, he or she can choose to get information in various categories such as flights, hotels, tickets, fashion, gifts, flowers, electronics and home. The chat service will ask questions from there.

For instance, if a user is looking for hotels in a particular area, he or she would select hotels and then Mezi’s chatbot asks a few questions to help get an understanding of the best options. Users will then fill out what area they would like to visit, dates of the trip, how many rooms and their price range.

Users can request to see results from only Priceline or Expedia, or a mixture.

Chatbots and concierge
Concierge services are on the rise as the convenience factor on mobile increases. Many other retailers and vendors are adopting similar pushes on mobile and digital to help provide users with a convenient experience that can drive sales.

For instance, wedding resource destination The Knot tapped into the lucrative mobile booking sector by unveiling a concierge service that allows engaged couples to receive personalized vendor recommendations, pricing help and tour scheduling via live chat, SMS and email (see more).

Gifts retailer 1800Flowers, which recently made waves in artificial intelligence integration, also cemented its stronghold on mobile commerce with an IBM Watson-powered gift concierge that uses cognitive capabilities to tailor product suggestions for shoppers (see more).

“Mezi is unique because it’s an AI-first product,” Mr. Shinde said. “Mezi blends artificial intelligence and commerce to help people make purchase decisions.

“For doing this Mezi has built a human assisted AI bot platform which connects every shopper with expert assistance through a very familiar messaging interface,” he said.