You may not have the time to scour the web for the best budget flights, or the money to hire a travel agent to do it for you, but the Lufthansa Group may have just solved all your wanderlust problems with a new Facebook Messenger chatbot. Meet Mildred, a new tool offered by the airline that promises to search for the cheapest flights departing in the next nine months. So whether you’re looking for a spontaneous getaway or hoping to plan that next big group vacation, let Mildred help bear that burden.
With an avatar described as “a friendly lady with glasses and her pink hair in a bun,” Mildred employs natural language processing to help users find the best flights for their budget and schedule. The Lufthansa assistant will even remember your chosen departure airport for a full 24 hours. Mildred is capable of recognizing places and dates, so if you send her a note via Messenger about wanting to go to Hawaii over Christmas, she’ll know what to search.
In fact, you can even get more specific — for example, Mildred will recognize your request for visit the Eiffel Tower over Thanksgiving as a request to fly to Paris, whereupon she’ll search the Lufthansa database for the cheapest flight available from your departure airport. You can even specify what booking class you’d like, be it Economy, Premium Economy, or Business. And once you’re ready to commit, Mildred will redirect you from Facebook Messenger to LH.com for purchasing.
Currently, the beta version of Mildred is available, and working in English and German. “The production depth of Mildred is already significant but it is important for us to launch a beta version to give her the chance to learn. In the digital world, the speed and mindset of start-ups counts, which involves quickly testing a new version and integrating feedback from the target group,” says Torsten Wingenter, Lufthansa’s head of digital innovations.
So if you’re planning your 2017 travel schedule or still need to figure out your holiday plans, Mildred just might be able to help.
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