OTA Teletext Holidays has launched a voice-activated search function with personal assistant app Alexa.
Users are asked a series of questions, such as their preferred travel date, destination and airport, number of adults and children in the party and their ideal duration to narrow down their options.
Alexa will search for hotels and provide users with prices, hotel star ratings, TripAdviser ratings, dates and departure airports.
Once a voice selection has been made, Alexa will send an email to Teletext’s customer service team who will then send a quote to the customer to confirm the booking.
Alternatively, there are options to further refine the results based on budgets or dates. If the perfect option is not located, Alexa will provide the number for a Teletext sales consultant.
Teletext Holidays MD Wayne Perks said: “We are constantly striving to provide a more connected experience for our customers and the Alexa skill gives them another medium in which to interact with us.
“Further to this, by leveraging new technologies we hope to increase engagement amongst a broader demographic of potential customers.”
What the Mole says:
It sounds great in theory, but in practice we couldn’t get Alexa to work. When we asked Alexa to search for hotels in Marrakech with Teletext Holidays it offered us a man’s tuxedo; we asked for a holiday to Palma, Majorca and it asked if we’d like avocados; we asked for a holiday anywhere in January and it told us the first was a Bank Holiday in the UK.
Maybe we were using the wrong prompt words, maybe it’s early days, but for now it seems unlikely Alexa is going to put any travel agents out of work!
We’ve since been told that you have to say specifically ‘Start Teletext Holidays’ or ‘Launch Teletext Holidays’ to start the app, but even then it is clumsy to use. This time when we searched for holidays to Marrakech and Palma it said there were none available, even though there were lots on the Teletext website; it misinterpreted commands and when it asked how many children and we said none it thought we said one and we had to start the search all over again. Although it found a holiday to Dubai, it was for the wrong dates.