Watson provides natural language interface for travellers

Intelligent Travel Agent

If you’re like me, making travel plans can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. But, what if you had everything you would need to know about your vacation in the palm of your hand and in real time? Thanks to cognitive technologies, there are now apps to help you have the best travel experience ever.

Companies like ZUMATA, a travel technology company, are the latest to jump on the growing need for new ways of performing travel searches. ZUMATA integrates IBM Watson cognitive services to improve the online hotel booking experience for you and travel services companies like Expedia or Amadeus.

ZUMATA, a Singapore-based company, uses data and images aggregated from more than 60 global hotel providers and ever-expanding database of structured and unstructured data, which includes descriptions of 500,000 properties, hotel images, and social media reviews and ratings — all of which ultimately come from external data sources. The platform goes beyond the generic search results driven by destination and date. By tapping into Watson, the platform enables travellers to ask questions in natural language and receive recommendations based on publicly available information, from social media reviews, to written and even visual content provided by hotel operators. The results personalize your preferences, giving you just what you need when you need it.

Not only that, but during your travels you can also seek support from ZUMATA’s intelligent agent. You can ask questions about or make changes to your bookings in natural language, and the agent can answer and take action on your requests from any device in real time. It’s like having a personal concierge.

“Consumers are looking for inspiration, relevance, and convenience because travel planning is overwhelming and time-consuming,” said Gary Theis, CTO of ZUMATA. “As a travel technology company, we now have the cognitive expertise to match consumers with their perfect trip. Our partnership with IBM Watson will make travel personal again.”


ZUMATA uses a combination of Watson APIs, including Watson Conversation, Retrieve and Rank, AlchemyLanguage, and Visual Recognition, to deliver a sophisticated and relevant trip discovery experience.

For example, you might type or say “I need a luxury hotel in Sydney with a view of the opera house, an indoor pool, and free WiFi.” Results returned will display images of the hotel view, amenities, and reviews about the hotel from other travellers’ online reviews. The best part is the system learns with each interaction, and becomes more customized to your preferences over time.

ZUMATA is a IBM Choice Awards winner, recognized for its ability to leverage IBM Watson’s suite of API’s in formulating tools and solutions for businesses that enhance the customer experience throughout the entire customer journey.

The IBM Choice Awards recognize Business Partners globally for their outstanding performance and commitment to delivering exceptional solutions to drive business value and transform the way clients and industries operate.


ZUMATA is the only artificial intelligence powered hotel distribution and technology company. Through partnerships with IBM Watson, Expedia, Amadeus, and DHISCO, ZUMATA solves a wealth of hotel distribution challenges. In addition to hotel distribution and travel technology, ZUMATA is using its cognitive capabilities to enable automated advisory and customer service to companies within a wide range of industries including travel, banking, finance, and more.  Founded in 2010, ZUMATA is headquartered in Singapore.

[ Blog adapted from Maureen Baeck Blog dated 25 Feb 2017]

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