According to IDC, 75 percent of workers will use digital assistants by 2019. At SAP Concur, we’ve seen an increased desire to have digital assistants in the workplace firsthand, with over 100 teams installing our Concur Expense bot on Slack within the first 10 hours of its release.
Building on this Concur Expense bot adoption, we’re now introducing the Concur Travel bot on Slack, available in beta to joint Concur Travel and Slack customers.
We leveraged the expertise of our Hipmunk team – who built the first and one of the most popular consumer travel chatbots in the industry – and the Concur Travel team, who deeply understand the needs of business travelers. From there, we partnered with Slack, the fastest growing team collaboration hub, with over 8 million daily active users, to deliver a world-class assistant that enables Concur Travel bookings directly in Slack.
Work Collaboration, Travel Integration
Slack connects you to the right team members and the right information to get work done –in fact, the average team spends 10 hours a week in Slack. We also found 40 percent of flights booked in SAP Concur in 2017 had at least two users from the same company on board. Did those two coworkers know that ahead of time?
This is why we found it natural to build a Concur Travel bot on the Slack platform. We want to make business travel collaboration simpler and bring the Concur Travel booking process to the space where you’re already working and chatting about your upcoming business trips and meetings together. Now, the Concur Travel bot on Slack can save frequent business travelers time, allowing you to search and book together with coworkers right from Slack.
Here’s what the @Concur_Travel_Beta bot on Slack can do for you:
- Breezy browsing: Easily search for in-policy flights that take advantage of your company’s negotiated rates without leaving Slack. Simply type a keyword such as “search” or “flights” and the @Concur_Travel_Beta bot will display flight search fields, allowing you to filter by destination, departure and return dates, fare class, preferred airlines, and more, right from your Slack conversation.
- Group planning: Instead of sending flight options back and forth over email, you can now look up flights within your Slack conversation talking about travel plans. You can share trips or look up flights in real time with colleagues. Co-booking works in public, private, or one-on-one Slack channels, making coordinating your travel plans with colleagues easier than ever.
- Seamless booking: Once flight selections are made, the bot will use your SAP Concur profile to auto-populate saved payment and reward program information for seamless booking.
- Auto-expensing: Have your @Concur_Travel_Beta automatically import your itinerary into Concur Expense, creating an expense entry for your flight – simply click “submit” when you touch down at the end of your trip.
- Itineraries on demand: Type “trips” or “itin” to review and access upcoming flight and hotel reservations in your chat with @Concur_Travel_Beta.
Expanding from Consumer to Business Ready
Tapping into learnings from the Hello Hipmunk chatbot, we built the Concur Travel bot on Slack specifically for you: a business traveler who wants to get your travel planning done quickly.
Based on user research, we discovered that business travelers care less about banter with an artificial assistant, preferring assistants who quickly understand what they want over bots that led them down back-and-forth conversations. Business travelers, more than leisure travelers, require chatbots to understand their intent and queries with a high level of accuracy. Because of these findings, @Concur_Travel_Beta app for Slack uses forms, menus, self-updating messages, and other novel messaging UI elements to understand intents quickly so we can accomplish your task fast.
Being accessible and available to group chats is another big lesson the Hipmunk team applied to @Concur_Travel_Beta. We’ve found through our own research, experiments within Hello Hipmunk, and by watching the evolution of the chatbot industry, that including chatbots in group conversations can help with bot discovery and engagement. With Slack’s slash command (i.e “/concurtravel”), users can now call @Concur_Travel_Beta to provide flight and trip information in any conversation they have with colleagues.
The Concur Travel bot is now available to joint U.S. customers in the Slack App Directory and SAP Concur App Center. The Concur Travel bot on Slack is a collaboration between Concur Labs, Concur Travel, and Hipmunk. Check out the Slack blog for more information about the @Concur integration for Slack and check out the Hipmunk blog to learn more about how we’re bringing our learnings from the consumer bot world in to the workplace.
Doug Anderson leads Global Travel Products at SAP Concur.