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Artificial intelligence-driven chatbot
provider 30Seconds to Fly is now part of American Express Global Business Travel.
The mega-travel management company closed the deal last week for an undisclosed
30STF had pivoted several times in its
search of a niche in corporate travel. It first targeted direct relationships
with corporates, providing an AI-driven mobile booking tool it called Claire, supported by agency fulfilment partners like Adelman Travel. While it
gained some traction in that space, the company found more appetite in TMC partners.
It hooked Claire up to Flight Center Group's SAM mobile app as a booking technology.
It also found an investor there, with FCM taking a 10 percent stake in the company
in 2019 after a smaller investment two years prior.
30Seconds to Fly has developed a ground-breaking experience for both travelers and travel counselors that will optimize the GBT service experience and enhance our messaging capabilities."
30STF ultimately shifted its focus to TMC
partnerships. It aimed to provide an AI-enhanced platform for agents through
which TMCs could increase productivity and offer a new service channel for
their clients. Adelman and FCM were both on board.
GBT seems to be looking for all of the
above with the purchase. According GBT director of new business ventures Gabriel
Ayache, "30Seconds to Fly has developed a ground-breaking experience for
both travelers and travel counselors that will optimize the GBT service
experience and enhance our messaging capabilities."
GBT will bring on 30STF's AI developers
as part of the acquisition. CEO Riccardo Vittoria will also transition to GBT.
He said the company is "very proud to help drive [intelligent chat] at
scale for GBT."
The agency said new capabilities will
be fully integrated "in the coming months."
Whether Amex GBT will continue to
support 30STF's other TMC clients is a question the company has not yet sorted.
Jay Boehmer reported in The Beat, a portfolio mate with BTN, that the
company is still considering its strategy in that regard.
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