American Express has acquired an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help users plan and book trips.
Mezi allows travellers to message their requests for flights, hotel or restaurant reservations, and then provides recommendations and makes travel arrangements at the customer’s request.
Founded in 2015, the service combines AI and human expertise to personalise the travel discovery and booking process. By learning users’ preferences and understanding the way customers make requests in natural language, Mezi “gets smarter and more efficient over time,” American Express said.
“Mezi’s AI-powered experience opens up exciting new ways for us to connect with and serve our card members and creates opportunities for us to build more meaningful relationships with them,” commented Phil Norman, vice president of American Express Digital Labs. “With messaging emerging as channel of choice for many, and the demand for unique experiences increasing, we believe the combination of Mezi’s capabilities with our global network of expert travel counsellors creates a differentiated, high-touch service experience for our card members.”
American Express decided to acquire Mezi following an investment made in 2016 by its strategic investment arm, American Express Ventures, and a successful pilot known as AskAmex.
The payment company is not alone in looking to AI to help differentiate and improve the services it offers customers.
A new study from Juniper Research has found that global retailer spending on AI will reach $7.3bn (£5.26bn) per year by 2022, up from an estimated $2bn (£1.44bn) in 2018, as retailers seek to increase personalisation of the customer experience with technologies such as automated marketing platforms that generate tailored, timely offers.
The biggest investment is expected to be seen in customer service and sentiment analytics (54%), followed by AI-based automated marketing (30%) and demand forecasting (16%).