lastminute.com, the online provider of travel and leisure solutions,
today announced the launch of its European voice automated hotel
In what the company believes is the first
application of its type in the world, lastminute.com
has developed an
innovative service that allows people on the move to book selected
hotels listed on lastminute.com`s website by phone.
The service is designed for lastminute.com customers who need a room
but are not near their PC. Whether away from the office, in the car,
or on a train, they can now book hotels in destinations throughout
the UK and Europe using advanced voice-recognition technology - for
business or pleasure.
lastminute.com`s voice-automated hotel reservation service will
initially offer a selection of the best offers at over 1,000 hotels
in more than 100 UK cities and towns, and in the top 20 European
cities including Rome, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid. Callers simply
speak their commands over the phone to the automated voice nicknamed
`Chad`, which responds conversationally, giving details of what is
Quick and easy to use, the service should be able to tell customers
what is available in under 30 seconds, while complete booking will
generally take under four minutes, including collecting credit card
details and providing directions to the hotel. Customers will
receive an automated confirmation via SMS or can have the full
booking details spoken to them over the phone.
lastminute.com chief executive officer Brent Hoberman said: “We
believe voice recognition is a key component of our mission to serve
the needs of customers at the last minute. We`re a digital commerce
company and are able to leverage our strengths across all relevant
consumer channels where we expect automated-voice to be of vital
importance. This is the latest in a series of projects where we have
demonstrated our sustained commitment to the development of
innovative consumer retail channels and cost-effective business
“This is an important building block in our strategy to best meet the
needs of our customers on the move. There are exciting opportunities
emerging in voice-automated and multimodal commerce and, step by
step, we are putting in place the components needed for success,”
said lastminute.com director of voiceweb, Dominic Cameron.
“Voice-recognition and synthetic speech technologies are making rapid
progress and allowing us to envisage entirely new ways of meeting our
The service uses VoiceXML, the emerging standard for
voice-recognition applications throughout the world.
, President and CEO, Nuance Inc.
enterprises that are applying voice technologies to enhance their
interactions with customers, lastminute.com leads in innovation, and
smart, pragmatic thinking. We`re delighted to be working with
lastminute.com in using our advanced speech technologies to enhance
its business processes and to create new and profitable channels to
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(12/10/2001) Lastminute.com lets hotels update availability with speech recognition software