In earlier days it was websites, then smartphones and now messaging apps — travel companies build products where the users are.
Thus Kayak, using natural language processing, has developed flight and hotel search in workplace-chat app Slack. Numerous companies both inside and outside of travel are building apps on top of Slack and other chat and messaging services. Slack boasts 2.3 million daily active users just over a year after launching.
For Kayak’s app, Slack users can navigate here and add Kayak search to Slack. Once it is added, users can then perform a query like this: “/kayak flights from newark to paris france April 4 to April 11.”
Kayak will retrieve a handful of flight choices (see below), but then the user has to navigate to Kayak.com or the Kayak app to continue the search for that flight. After that the user would have to choose whether to book the relatively small percentage of flights that are available on Kayak or get transferred to a third-party site to continue the search and complete the booking.
The Kayak service in Slack is available on desktop and mobile browsers, as well as apps for both mobile phones and Macs.
For example, for Kayak query in Slack, “/kayak hotels in San Francisco tonight”, Kayak presents the hotel name, star rating, the price, user rating, and a photo of the hotels’ exterior.
When the user navigates over to Kayak, the rates could be different and the availability is not guaranteed.
For example, in the example here for Villa Florence, the result in Slack says the rate is $219 but when you tap “Go to Kayak.com” the rate is listed as “$182+.”
Instead of a rate for tonight, as requested, Kayak.com shows the rate for April 1 -3.
The user also has to make the query in language that the Kayak Slack bot understands.
If you enter a query that Kayak in Slack doesn’t understand you will get an error message (see below).
Kayak also recently unveiled Kayak Snap, a text-based travel-search service.
Give Kayak credit for building the bot for Slack. Is Slack the optimum way to plan a trip? Hardly. But there could be some users, who are chatting at the office in Slack all day, who could find it a convenient way to get a booking started.