The Virtual Travel Assistant Claire and its Startup in Bangkok

The virtual travel assistant is a new technology that can be a benefit for anyone who travels often. This kind of technology can partner the traveler with a travel agent that ensures getting the most convenient and tickets at the best rates available. It is a solution for the frequent traveler who is into the latest technology that has more flexibility than a travel agency.

This technology can be used for businesses that have as many as one thousand employees who travel. It can make business travel arrangements easy and accurate whether traveling is for meetings or pleasure. This is a kind of technology that can be communicated by using various interfaces including social media. Using it can be done from any place.

Rather than having to go through the process of visiting a travel agent or spending time on hold on the phone while arrangements are made. Instead, the person or company using a virtual travel assistant can choose their itinerary and they know they will get unsurpassed pricing on tickets and other arrangements.

Who is 30SecondsToFly?

The company 30SecondsToFly was founded by Felicia Schneiderhan and Ricardo Vittoria. Ms. Schneiderhan has a background in public management and economics. Mr. Vittoria has a background in engineering. Mr. Vittoria is the founder of the machine known as Claire – the virtual travel assistant.

30SecondsToFly is a company that offers businesses a virtual travel assistant with headquarters in Bangkok and New York. The company is focused on making travel easy and cheaper for business trips for company employees whether set up by the employee or their human assistant.

Developing Claire

Claire is a virtual travel agent or an artificial intelligence assistant. She is the first of her kind and developed by the co-founder of 30SecondsToFly. Claire can help travelers with their flight arrangements providing flexible and cheaper solutions. She also can understand spoken or written English and best of all – Claire can learn. Human travel agents can also learn, but often need to review the individual company travel policies, which is something Claire will do in much less time. This makes Claire more efficient and more available than the human 9: to 5:00 work day. The other difference is the technology continues to grow with Claire.

Interacting with Claire

The person traveling has several options to interact with the virtual travel assistant Claire. They can connect using SMS, Facebook, Slack and Skype in a text. This way of communicating with a technology-driven travel agent can reduce the time it takes to schedule or reschedules trips. Mr. Vittoria said that they use a natural language processing machine that has a learning technology. This automates the process being done by corporate travel agents. The automation is a technology that is the latest in this area and with a human team that ensures business travel runs smoothly.

The Mission

For business in the US, companies spend over $1 trillion dollars on corporate travel, which can be worldwide. While this is a large amount spent by corporations on trips, there are only a few large travel management companies that schedule these trips. Though, these companies have boxed themselves in, since they have not changed their business model in nearly 50 years.

The founders of 30SecondsToFly spent time evaluating the business travel market and found there is a fraction of companies that are under-represented by traditional corporate travel agents. The reason for this under-representation made it clear Claire could fit the needs of the industries not being taken care of by travel agents.

Claire in Bangkok

Bangkok is a good place for 30SecondsToFly location with Claire to assist both business people from Thailand and companies from the U.S. Bangkok the capital of Thailand is active for business deals since the Asian investment boom beginning in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Companies can find the location to be a center for arts and fashion, but in the travel industry this capital city is also a major destination for tourism. Claire is a virtual assistant in Bangkok that can find the best travel arrangements for people and companies.

Under-Represented Companies

There are the mid-sized and small businesses ones left behind where travel expenditures can be difficult to keep track. The 30SecondsToFly founders found that the employees make their own travel arrangements. So, often the travel plans are done using leisure platforms online and that further made it difficult to keep an accurate spending record for trips. This portion of the travel market is approximately $36 billion according to CEO Schneiderhan.

It is an untapped market that can benefit from the simplicity of a virtual travel assistant. The advantage for these companies is the ease of using Claire, the virtual travel assistant, which can learn about the company travel policy and use it when selecting trips for the employee.

How it Works

The use of a virtual travel assistant means the person is able to use this technology to compare hundreds of trip options. Claire is capable of learning and will learn the company’s travel policies and preferences. Then the machine will use this to compare all travel options used and optimize them into what is known as smart itineraries for the business person traveling.

Since this is a technology-driven machine using one of various methods to connect the person, it is able to make travel arrangements 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is an advantage for the small and mid-sized business industry because it saves money and is a convenient way to make travel arrangements.

The Team

The company that is headquartered in Bangkok and New York has pricing plans for different sized companies and a basic consumer plan for their travel agent Claire. They send out weekly newsletters for team members filled with details about Claire and the internal decisions. This keeps the team in the loop to help business leaders with educated answers and gives the employees the opportunity to provide input.

Meetings are also different from other companies since the teams are in different locations and time zones. But the physical distance does not take away from the comfortable team feeling working within the 30SecondsToFly team.