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Travelocity to Users: Talk to Me

By Beth Cox     Feedback

A speech recognition app for phone users is rolled out at one travel site; meanwhile, Hotwire adds new cities, new partners and new maps.

Upgrades in the highly competitive travel space abound as Travelocity.com today deployed a speech-driven customer service application and Hotwire delivered more cities, more hotels, detailed maps and an improved Hotel Ratings Guide.

Fort Worth-based Travelocity (NASDAQ:TVLY) rolled out a voice application from iVB Enterprise Solutions, a division of InterVoice-Brite that uses advanced speech technologies from SpeechWorks International Inc. (NASDAQ:SPWX) to provide callers with the ability to review their existing travel plans by phone.

Travelocity said the new voice service will combine automated speech recognition capabilities with voice portal technologies including natural sounding text-to-speech and the ability to ask for and retrieve Web-based information. Customers can now confirm travel information while on the road, including airline, hotel and car reservations.

"This is a direct response to our customers' request to provide fast, easy access to their travel information -- anytime, anywhere from any telephone," said Terrell B. Jones, president and CEO of Travelocity.com. Financial arrangements among the companies were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, Hotwire, which began last year as an air travel site and launched its hotel division only six months ago, added 16 new U.S. cities, allowing customers to find "Hot-Rates" in 39 locations. Newly added markets include Austin, Charlotte, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Nashville, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Portland, OR, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio and St. Louis.

New hotel partners include Baymont Inns and Suites, Drury Hotels, Hawaiian Hotels and Resorts, Ian Schrager, Kimpton Group, Le Meridien, Prince Hotels (Hawaii) and Woodfin Suites.

Hotwire said the more detailed city maps make it easier for customers to find hotel rooms in their desired locations -- and give travelers a better picture of the area where they plan to stay, as well as nearby attractions and landmarks.

Privately held Hotwire's founding partners include the airlines American, America West, Continental, Northwest, United and USAirways.

This article was originally published on August 6, 2001
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