The founder of Travelocity has teamed up with the IBM Watson project to create a new company, Wayblazer.
This company’s aim is to use Watson’s plain language skills and ability to “learn” to make the booking process much easier for the usual consumer.
WayBlazer addresses the growing issue of the sheer breadth of options and data required of travelers planning their next destination. On average, users explore 20 or more websites to research flight, hotel, and activity information, while weighing personal preferences and insights from social networks, online review sites and more. WayBlazer will form the industry’s most robust travel concierge by letting its customers ask questions using a natural language interface. WayBlazer links places, offers, and preferences, with social, cultural and economic data to recommend targeted travel insights and commerce offers that are tailored and customized for each consumer’s experience.
What intrigues me is WayBlazer’s ability to link preferences to the best fares.
Instead of trying to break up my trips into extra legs manually, I wonder if WayBlazer could learn that I prefer to do that and just offer me the best rates for the most EQMs. (Elite Qualifying Miles–to get status).
I also wonder if WayBlazer could automatically let me know what prices the Hyatts are going for in the locations I’m flying into, since that’s what I always automatically check next.
IBM Watson is extremely powerful technology. While I know the main focus will be how to respond to the “average flyer” (whatever that means), I am sincerely interested in learning how it will be able to deal with the “to-crazy-levels-frequent flyer”.