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Zayaan: Bangladesh’s First AI-powered Digital Travel Assistant That Empowers Bangladeshi Travelers

Traveling is an essential antidote to our modern living that puts exhaustive demands on our lives. Travel mends our health and soul. After spending some time in the woods, with the sun and water and the self, travel prepares us to face the world anew. 

While traveling offers amazing opportunities to explore, rewind and refresh, planning a trip can be challenging and confusing. Bangladeshi travelers face scores of challenges before and during the time of traveling: from the lack of access to reliable information, limited to no control on trip decisions, to lack of flexibility on available services to having limited options for payment when it comes to international travel, the list is long and exhaustive.  

For example, you are applying for a visa and you don’t know much about the necessary documents you need. There a few options you have to get reliable information regarding the visa application process: you either visit a travel agent or call an OTA which you have to do within a certain hour of the day - mostly office hours or you can conduct the research yourself. You still could make certain errors such as using the same photo that you used last time for a new visa because many would not tell you these nuances. Similar challenges can arise in flight booking, hotel booking and everything in between.

Take finding a suitable flight. You can check flight availability in a few ways: you can either speak with a travel agent or go to an OTA website - enter dates, time, and search for suitable flights and stays. This entire process can take hours. Moreover, there are chances you will make suboptimal decisions with your limited knowledge. Then comes the planning of your stay at your destination. For example, you are going to Indonesia. You want to ensure the maximum utilization of your stay. You can choose to take a tour package, a guide upon arrival, or plan yourself. But you don’t know which is which.  

This is where Go Zayaan’s intelligent digital travel assistant Zayaan comes in. Zayaan is an interactive AI-powered travel assistant from the leading online travel sites Go Zayaan. Zayaan aims to empower travelers. Give them control in how they plan and make decisions about their trips. 

Zayaan lets users find flights, hotels, plan trips, and find answers related to their trips using conversational language rather than the old-school method of plugging in dates and sifting through hundreds of results from the comfort of their home at their convenient time. 

Unlike traditional customer service, Zayaan is always available. He has all the answers to your travel-related questions. You don’t need to call anyone or search anything, you simply ask Zayaan and the answer is always ready.

You can ask Zayaan, conversationally, “can you suggest a hotel in Bali for January 15?” or simply state, “I'd like a flight from Dhaka to Singapore on Jan 9, in the morning." Zayaan will quickly fetch you relevant information and help you plan your trip. 

Zayaan offers a long list of benefits to travelers: easy access to reliable information, flexibility and a sense of control that you are never alone. Whenever a traveler needs certain information, they could get it with a few taps on their phone. With Zayaan, you don’t need to maintain office hours. You can comfortably plan your trip at the wee hours of the morning if you so feel.

Zayaan makes information free. He enables travelers to rely on themselves. You simply ask Zayaan what you need, he fetches it for you. For example, you need visa-related information, Zayaan would get the whole list of information you need and would send it to your way which you can keep and review at your convenient time. 

If you are a regular traveler, Zayaan has other benefits for you. He can offer you personalized experience based on your past travel history. As booking flights, visa, tours, hotels increasingly become an online experience, Zayaan can derive insights using travel data of regular travelers and transform them into a personalized experience for every traveler as they interact more with Zayaan.

Zayaan lets users find flights, hotels, plan trips, and find answers related to their trips using conversational language rather than the old-school method of plugging in dates and sifting through hundreds of results from the comfort of their home at their convenient time. 

What is a chatbot?  

There are 2 types of chatbots: the first type is driven by predetermined and pre-programmed answers. These bots are manually programmed and tend to address a large set of frequently asked questions like: “what is the best month to visit Bali? And when is the next flight to Singapore?” etc. 

Then there is the second type of chatbot, which is more complex and powered by artificial intelligence. It understands language, commands and learns during interactions and can answer more complicated questions. 

How Zayaan Works

Zayaan started off as a type one chatbot with some basic functionality and is currently on its journey to becoming type two chatbot which is more intelligent and effective. The way Zayaan works is simple. When a customer knocks, Zayaan prompts saying “how may I help you?” like any human assistant.  When he is unable to answer a query he immediately forwards it to an agent. But he is learning every day. He is getting better with every new interaction. He does not repeat an error. No two interactions with Zayaan are the same. 

“Whenever Zayaan is interacting with a customer, at the end of the conversation he always asks for customer's phone number and email if the customer needs more information so that we could call him or send him an email with more information,” says Javid Sadiq, who manages Customer Experience at Go Zayaan. “He then forwards the email/phone number to the respective team for taking care of the lead. This makes the entire thing easier for customers.”  

Zayaan is capable of empowering the entire travel experience of a traveler, from planning a trip to providing constant support during a trip to suggesting nearby entertainment spots and transportation facilities at destination. From instant answers at any time of day or night to comprehensive support, Zayaan is good at managing relationships with humans in a friendly and engaging manner.

More than a bot - Zayaan the character

“Zayaan is not a mere AI-powered travel assistant,” says Sharara Zaheen, who leads Brand communications at Go Zayaan, “it is a character.”

Ms. Sharara goes on to explain what she means. “Zayaan is a young person who loves to travel, knows a lot about travel and wants to help other fellow travelers. We created Zayaan with this persona in mind.”

“Zayaan is funny and welcoming in his orientation. When you are interacting with Zayaan, it is not like interacting with a bot,” says Mr. Sadiq. “Zayaan does not mechanically give you information, he welcomes you, wishes you good luck with your flight. He is friendly and learning how to interact with humans.”

While Zayaan could handle most regular questions, there are questions that Zayaan is not good at handling as yet. In that case, Go Zayaan has put a fine line between human and digital assistants. “When Zayaan could not answer one of your questions it says may I transfer you to one of my best agents,” says Mr. Sadiq. “Then the query goes to one of our best agents.”  

Then human interaction takes it up. The gap between these two is almost non-existent. It is instantaneous. Customers could also continue the journey with Zayaan if he or she so wants.

The idea of Zayaan is to put a travel agent inside your pocket - Imamul Islam Suprio

Future of Zayaan

“We are a tech company. We are never settled. While we have received a great response for Zayaan,” says Mr. Suprio, “we are just getting started in the digital assistant space. “We are working on a long list of exciting features to make Zayaan better.” 

Go Zayaan has been working on a new version of Zayaan which, the company says, will be more intelligent and adept at interacting with humans. 

“What Zayaan now can perfectly do is providing information. You need information, any information that is on the Go Zayaan website, Zayaan has it and can give it to you,” says Mr. Suprio. “What the new Zayaan will be able to do is even more interesting. The new Zayaan will be far better at conversation. He would be able to give them a feeling of a meaningful conversation as if you are talking to a human who can understand the nuances of communication.”

Customer experience plays a critical role in the travel industry. An intelligent digital assistant enables companies to provide full-fledged customer support 24/7, reducing the load on personnel. 

With Zayaan, Go Zayaan pioneers in this area in Bangladesh. The company says it will continue to innovate as it goes into a new year 2020 and double down on its ambition to empower travelers in Bangladesh and beyond.

Mr. Suprio says Go Zayaan started with an ambition to give control back to travelers and make access to information and customer support instantaneous and effortless. Zayaan is an important step towards achieving that goal. “The idea of Zayaan is to put a travel agent inside your pocket,” he adds.

Meet Zayaan, your dedicated and intelligent digital travel assistant and take control back of your travel decisions.

Learn more about Go Zayaan and how the company empowers travelers with excellent travel services and solutions here.

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