Brain Waves: Air New Zealand’s robot trial, VR hotel suite in Hong Kong, and more…

Air New Zealand trials robots at Sydney Airport

Air New Zealand has teamed up with CommBank to trial the use of robot customer service agents at Sydney Airport. A five-day experiment utilised Chip CANdroid, the bank’s social humanoid robot, which interacted with and assisted Air New Zealand customers checking in and at the gate prior to boarding. This follows a previous trial of Oscar, the artificial intelligence-backed chatbot, which was introduced at the airline’s biometric bag drops to identify passengers.

Deutsche Hospitality targets Chinese trade on WeChat

Deutsche Hospitality, the company formerly known as Steigenberger, has opened an account on WeChat, the popular Chinese social media site. The European hotel group is using a new B2B channel on WeChat, enabling Chinese tour operators and travel agencies to receive the latest news about Deutsche Hospitality in Chinese language, directly to their mobile devices. The company said it is planning to capture a larger share of the Chinese outbound travel sector.

Delta offers video chats with agents

Delta Air Lines has become the first US carrier to allow its customers to engage in video chats with guest service agents when seeking information. Under a test programme at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, five interactive digital screens with individual receivers are now featured at the Delta Sky Assist area, so travellers can connect face-to-face with Delta’s team, for anything from changing a flight to requesting information and sharing feedback.

New Hong Kong hotel unveils features VR headsets

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong has launched its newest and largest suite, which is dedicated to entertaining and comes equipped with virtual reality headsets. Covering 209m² of floor space, the new Entertainment Suite features an “entertainment wall” comprising a B&O BeoLab sound system, a 160-inch TV screen with a laser projector, virtual reality headsets and gaming equipment. There is also a cinema-style popcorn machine.

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