Virgin Holidays launches Amazon Alexa sales skill

Virgin Holidays launches Amazon Alexa sales skill

Virgin Holidays has launched a brand-new skill for Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, Alexa.

The integration allows holidaymakers to ask Alexa to search Virgin Holidays for their next trip through devices including Amazon Echo and Echo Dot – hands-free speakers that are controlled by your voice.

This advancement into artificial intelligence supported holiday search came about after a member of the Virgin Holidays web team and avid technologist, Declan Newman, travelled to Amazon Web Services’ annual cloud developer conference, AWS re:Invent.

His time at the event in Las Vegas inspired him to start developing functionality for Virgin Holidays that integrates with Alexa, in his spare time.

The result is a new skill that aims to find the best value holiday from a database of three million dates, outbound airports and destinations.

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Although the skill is in its first edition, it has been welcomed by Virgin Holidays as a great starting point in the artificial intelligence journey.

Interactions with the Virgin Holidays skill for Alexa enables users to select their destination, fixed or flexible dates, preferred departure airport and number of nights by simply saying “Alexa, ask Virgin Holidays…”.

Alexa will then respond with details of the best deal from Virgin Holidays’ database, with an accompanying link sent to the Alexa app, directing customers to further information and the booking page. 

Newman said: “Following my trip to AWS re:Invent, I was inspired to bring some of this incredible technology to travel, so I started working on it at home.

“I love the idea of customers having their own personal travel agent at home, which draws on the huge resource of Virgin Holidays.

“Once I was happy with what I had developed, I brought it to the team and they all agreed it is a good first edition.”

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