Flight Centre and Serko to integrate artificial intelligence for a smoother online booking experience

The cumbersome process associated with corporate travel bookings, both classic and online, has long been loathed by business travellers and those managing their travel. As corporates continue to push for more freedom, flexibility and individuality in their travels, technology is clearly the bridging element that will tie bookings to a rich and efficient travel experience.

Australian based travel giant Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) and New Zealand technology specialist Serko note this demand, and aim to transform the traditional online booking experience for business travellers.

Both Serko and FCTG’s corporate divisions have been widely recognised for bringing tech innovation to business travel, and now they are working on an exclusive initiative to develop ‘Savi’ – a cutting edge and AI-driven online booking platform.

Savi will be exclusive to the corporate clients of: FCM Travel Solutions; SME travel provider Corporate Traveller; academic travel business Campus Travel; and sports and entertainment travel specialist Stage and Screen.

Product leaders from FCTG’s corporate divisions and platform developers from Serko have been working hand in hand on the development of Savi. The result will be a “reimagination of the online booking experience as we know it”, FCTG boasts.

Executive General Manager of FCTG’s corporate division, James Kavanagh, said the joint travel and technology initiative would benefit from FCTG’s and Serko’s vast industry experience in their respective fields.

“FCTG draws on 40 years of experience in corporate, leisure and wholesale travel, while Serko has more than 25 years of travel technology experience across online booking and mobile applications, airline distribution, global distribution systems (GDS) and new distribution capability (NDC)”, he said.

Flight Centre’s corporate division was also one of the pioneers in online booking technology with the release of e3 in the early 2000s and was first to market with ‘Rapid Book’, a single screen booking technology that was developed in conjunction with Serko.

Mr Kavanagh continued: “The release of Savi, which initially will be in Australia and New Zealand, is highly anticipated by our business and we can’t wait to share it with our customers. Details about timeframes will be available soon”.

Flight Centre is a launch partner for both Amadeus and Sabre’s NDC enabled solutions

The NDC conversation is starting to gain momentum in the Australian travel industry and more broadly across Asia Pacific. FCTG has recognised this and has become the only company headquartered in Asia Pacific to participate in an NDC initiative, becoming a launch partner of both Amadeus and Sabre’s IATA NDC enabled solutions.

The Amadeus and Sabre initiatives are geared towards shaping the future of travel distribution and seek to proactively bringing the key players to the table, namely travel agents, airlines and the GDSs, to deliver outcomes that will benefit all parties with the new technology.

If FCTG were to complement its Savi system with the input of NDC partners, the company could be on the verge of an AI-supported booking system that matches the needs of airline, travel agent and GDS stakeholders. The question is if Flight Centre can also appropriate such a system in a beneficial way to the corporate traveller and travel managers – as they are the ones that are spurring this disruption in the first place.