Meet Sam: New App Combines Travel-Intelligent “Chatbot” With Expertise of an FCM Consultant to Make Trips Seamless Before, During & After
Meet Sam. Designed to simplify life for corporate travelers, FCM’s latest creation merges a travel-intelligent “chatbot” with the expertise of a skilled FCM consultant and delivers the winning combination right to your phone in the form of an app. Launched within the FCM SmartSUITE of products, Sam, short for “Smart Assistant for Mobile,” is available at all times: pre-, during, and post-trip. Sam is live in the US iTunes App Store (search “FCM”) as of July 13 for Apple devices. An android-compatible version is set to launch this fall.
Sam, the anticipatory, travel-savvy “chatbot” will assist with all aspects of travel — itineraries, gate changes, driving directions, weather, restaurant recommendations and reservations. Because no man (or app) is an island, the “call or SMS my consultant” option gets you to a live FCM consultant 24 hours a day for live assistance on the go.
Sam is highly interactive and speaks to clients how and on which chat platform they prefer. With the ability to communicate across numerous supported platforms (Facebook Messenger, SMS and more), Sam picks up on cues, such as travel patterns and preferences, and updates travelers accordingly. For example, if it is your first time in a particular city, you will receive more information and recommendations than if it was a standing monthly trip. With rules and settings that can be customized to fit a company’s travel guidelines, Sam will, for example, send a reminder to use taxis over other transportation options if company policy so dictates. Sam can send a prompt to submit a lunch receipt thanks to the integration with Certify, an industry-leading travel and expense management solution. Sam has also partnered with Lyft, a national ride sharing service, to easily help travelers book rides.
To ensure Sam was up to task, two of FCM’s largest clients trialed the app in BETA. Both companies had 20-plus, most frequent travelers challenge Sam to be sure it was smart and anticipatory, without crossing the line and being intrusive with an abundance of notifications.
“A pillar of our business and what our brand has been built on is exceptional service. In today’s rapidly growing digital world we wanted our mobile capabilities to be at the highest level, parallel to what customers expect of our offline services. The launch of Sam delivers a superior, highly interactive experience for clients who prefer to have an app-based solution with the expertise of FCM behind it at all times,” said Billy McDonough, president of FCM. The previous FCM mobile app will remain operational until all clients have switched over.
A first-ever for the FCM app is a self-booking option that is shaped by corporate travel guidelines and preferred supplier plans. Built with speed in mind, the entire process from search to booking can be completed in less than 10 touches (contract-specific option, not available to all).
Other features of the “chatbot” Sam app include:
- User-specific customizable profiles that allow for anticipatory, savvy service delivery
- Information-rich itineraries presented in chronological order
- Gate and flight change notifications
- Flight/Trip Change & Cancellation Options
- Destination-specific weather updates
- Car rental
- Option to speak with an FCM consultant with the touch of a button (SMS option to connect to consultant also available)
- Communication across multiple platforms
- Lyft capabilities for ride sharing (company-configurable, and can be enabled or disabled upon request)
- Expense management with Certify integration; Sam’s savvy comes into play here as it knows the context of the trip and can prompt to photograph receipt and launch your camera app automatically.
- Driving directions
- Restaurant recommendations