FCM’s Chatbot ‘Sam’ wins GTMC Innovation Award in UK

Travel News 27 Jun 2017

FCM Travel Solutions UK has scooped the much coveted GTMC Innovation Award in recognition of the travel management company’s ground-breaking business travel tool, Sam:], a chatbot that blends artificial intelligence with the expertise of FCM consultants to deliver personalized, relevant information to business travellers’ mobile devices.

The highly-respected GTMC (Guild of Travel Management Companies) is the UK’s leading business travel body. The accolade, presented in association with Travelport, a leading travel technology provider, recognises travel management companies that design original technology that enhances productivity and delivers greater efficiency for customers. Entries for the Innovation Awards are judged by the GTMC’s Technology Panel of travel industry specialists.

Sam:], is a highly interactive, travel-savvy and anticipatory "Smart Assistant for Mobile" that supports business travellers with all aspects of travel via a conversational interface to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions.  Sam is dedicated to making life easier for the business traveller pre-, during and post trip, pro-actively providing advice and support with everything from itinerary management, air and hotel bookings, flight updates, local city and country information, local weather and restaurant suggestions, to security notifications, ground transportation, driving directions, visa and vaccination advice and support

Jo Greenfield, UK General Manager, FCM Travel Solutions commented: “We are thrilled to be named as GTMC Travelport Innovation award winner. This is a true endorsement of our pioneering approach to business travel technology with the development of Sam. FCM is the first TMC in the market to introduce chatbot technology and the next-generation of smartphone application.

“Most technology solutions in business travel focus on the needs of the corporate buyer and bookers, not the needs of the business traveller and their experience while travelling. FCM believes that there is a real need to proactively support the individual traveller at each stage of their trip, to give the traveller a much more enjoyable experience whilst on the move, and reduce the stresses and strains of travelling on business.  At the same time, we also recognize that any innovation supporting the traveller, must still address the needs of the corporate in terms of ensuring travellers stay within policy guidelines,” explained Greenfield.

Paul Wait, CEO, GTMC said: “Selecting the winners for the Travelport GTMC Innovation Award is no easy task and each time the shortlist becomes even stronger which is testament to the high level of ingenuity in the sector. Our own research in partnership with Oxford Economics demonstrates the high value of business travel and the impact it can have on economic growth. Indeed, a one per cent increase in total business travel volumes will boost total trade by around £400 million. These are important figures. In order to realise these ambitions for growth it is up to the business travel and TMC community to champion business travel and it is those innovators among us that will be key in enabling us to deliver this. FCM Travel Solutions is one such innovator and I hope that their efforts will encourage industry peers to follow suit. My congratulations to the whole FCM Travel Solutions team on being worthy winners of this prestigious award.”

Paul Broughton, Regional Managing Director, UK & Ireland at Travelport, commented: “The business travel sector continues growing at a significant rate. With technology playing an increasingly important role in easing the way for those on business trips, Travelport are delighted to continue supporting this important Award, working together with the GTMC to further promote innovation in the industry. The entries for this year’s GTMC Innovation Award saw a high standard of entries which is encouraging for the future of the industry, but made the judging even harder. Choosing the winner was a close-run decision and I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate FCM Travel Solutions on being the latest winner.”

The GTMC Travelport Innovation award ceremony took place at the GTMC Conference in Monaco on 6th June 2017.