Two innovative global startups, Sherpa and Agara, have joined forces to bring forth a "virtual travel advisor". The solution aims to provide a seamless, worry-free, and safe travel experience to global travelers, as economies re-open and international travel steadily resumes in a post-COVID world. The solution combines Sherpa's reliable travel and cross-border information delivery system and Agara's next-generation autonomous Voice AI technology.
The integrated solution aims to empower airlines and travel companies to guide customers during transit and cross-border travel and assist with visa and health regulations, which are being enforced by the governments the world over.
While working with a global airline company together, the two companies sensed the need to provide customers with reliable and up-to-date information at every stage of their journey. Anxious customers call during the pre-booking stage to seek guidance on visa, travel restriction, quarantine needs, PPE requirements or even inquire about how they could reach their destination. In the post-booking scenario, customers typically call to reschedule their booking or change their destination, which in today's scenario spells new restrictions and travel regulations, based on nationality, cross-border readiness, travel documents, and so on.
Sherpa's vision is to help customers "move freely", and its technology enables this by using embeddable widgets, intuitive APIs, or white-label solutions to guide travelers through the post-COVID travel landscape by providing information they need and the documentation they require.
For customers, reaching out to the call center is the preferred choice of a quick resolution. With the spike in the number of calls to airline call centers across the world, airlines across the world are realizing the need to make information available to customers over voice in a self-service mode. With Agara's deep learning-based autonomous voicebot, airlines can recognize the travelers' specific query and need and understand them in the context of their current booking or reservation.
Additionally, Agara's patented conversational capabilities help decide the next best voice response, with the goal to offer instant, on-demand customer service. With travel restrictions and regulations changing every day across the world, Agara also enables airlines and travel companies to be responsive, and enforce new policy and compliance needs in their customer communication plans.
Airlines are experiencing a 96% jump in their overall conversation volume since mid-February, owing to the pandemic. This has led to customers waiting over the phone line for hours to reschedule or cancel their flights. To that end, Sherpa and Agara's integrated, highly scalable, real-time, and Voice AI-powered "virtual travel advisor" empowers travel organizations to help their customers with hassle-free travel. Armed with the most updated information and by providing an elevated experience, brands in the travel industry can ensure that they win customer loyalty during these extremely unpredictable times.
"Our goal is to reduce stress and confusion for travelers as travel reopens globally, and we are excited about working with Agara to provide an innovative way to reduce the burden on airlines, OTA's and corporate travel partners to notify their customers of travel requirements that are changing on a daily basis," said Max Tremaine, Sherpa Co-Founder, and CEO.
"Agara and Sherpa together bring the power of Voice AI and access to reliable information in real-time for travelers across the world. We imagine this as the prerequisite for passengers in the next normal, to move freely and feel confident about access to information any time, anywhere, in the globe. The Solution will provide instant information to customers and at the same time deliver operational efficiencies to the travel sector," said Abhimanyu, Co-Founder & CEO of Agara.
Founded in 2017 by Abhimanyu and Arjun Maheswaran, Agara's mission is to drive autonomous business-to-consumer communication experiences over voice using advanced Real-time Voice AI. It is contextualized and pre-trained to deliver natural conversations without human assistance. Some of the largest and most respected brands globally use Agara to streamline their customer care, drive significant cost efficiencies, and improve customer experience. Agara is backed by several top-notch names in venture capital including Kleiner Perkins, Blume Ventures, and RTP Global. Visit agara.ai
Founded in 2015 by Max Tremaine and Ivan Sharko, Sherpa is the leading global provider of travel identification requirements for the travel industry. Passionate about the freedom of movement because it is fundamental to providing people with the opportunity to connect and fulfill their ambitions, Sherpa's vision is to provide every traveler with the information they need and documentation they require to move confidently and securely across borders. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Sherpa partners with the world's leading travel providers in over 50 countries and is trusted by brands such as British Airways, Icelandair, Star Alliance, Kiwi.com, and G Adventures. Sherpa is backed by True Ventures, Relay Ventures, Globalive Capital, N49P, Erik Blatchford, and Stuart Macdonald, who sits on the company's board of directors.