LHW Taps IBM Watson to Launch Trip Discovery Tool on LHW.com

The Leading Hotels of the World, a collection of uncommon luxury hotels, and WayBlazer, the world’s first cognitive travel platform, today announced the public beta launch of a sophisticated discovery tool on the Leading Hotels’ website that enables people to use natural dialogue while researching travel online. Just in time for summer vacation planning, the new tool helps travelers by providing tailored recommendations based on specific needs.

The Leading Hotels of the World has collaborated with WayBlazer to harness its Cognitive Discovery Tool software, powered by IBM Watson. WayBlazer leverages IBM Watson’s natural language processing services to dynamically present hotel recommendations based on natural dialogue with the consumer. Leading Hotels has applied this technology to deliver recommendations based on preferences such as pet-friendly hotels, award-winning dining, honeymoon destinations, golf courses or proximity to a beach, and more.

According to a recent study commissioned by The Leading Hotels of the World, 81 percent of affluent travelers conduct independent research online to find the experiences they want. By using WayBlazer’s Watson-powered solution, travelers can now experience more relevance through robust curation when planning a vacation that can meet a variety of needs.

For example, a traveler can type in sentences describing what kind of hotel, destination, time of year, or amenities he or she is looking for, such as:
• “Where are the best hotels in the Caribbean for my honeymoon in June”
• “I want a kid-friendly hotel in Ireland with access to a great golf course”
• “Best hotels with pools on the Amalfi Coast for a stay at the end of August”

Once a traveler enters these details, the trip discovery tool delivers hotel results that are displayed in order of relevance with dynamic images bringing to the life the traveler’s search criteria. Travelers can browse and select a hotel to see additional images and contextual insights explaining why that particular option is a fit for the amenities or location they seek. This ultimately drives travelers to further explore the property page and book directly through LHW.com.

“As we approach our most popular season for bookings, we’re excited to collaborate with WayBlazer on this new cognitive discovery tool,” said Phil Koserowski, Vice President of Interactive Marketing, The Leading Hotels of the World. “By adding this functionality to our website, we are putting the power of exploration in the hands of travelers so they can effortlessly research and find hotels that meet their individual needs and desires for their trip.”

“Travel planning can be very time-consuming, and the industry is ripe for more intuitive solutions,” said Felix Laboy, CEO of WayBlazer. “By using WayBlazer, The Leading Hotels of the World has become a true digital innovation player by providing customers the choice and flexibility to plan a trip in their own way, increasing loyalty, site engagement, and conversion.”

WayBlazer is a member of the Watson Ecosystem and one of six companies to receive funding from IBM to support the development of their cognitive solution. The Watson ecosystem is a community of more than 500 partners across 17 industries and disciplines, more than 100 of which have already introduced commercial cognitive enabled apps, products and services to the market. In addition to these partners, more than 80,000 developers globally are tapping into more than 30 APIs available via the Watson Developer Cloud on Bluemix to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas.

To begin your trip discovery experience visit www.lhw.com/tripdiscovery

About The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. (Leading Hotels)
Comprised of more than 375 hotels in over 75 countries, Leading Hotels is a collection of uncommon luxury hotels. Rooted in the locations in which they are found, members embody the very essence of their destination. Through varied styles of architecture and design and distinct cultural experiences enhanced by passionate people, the collection is for the curious traveler looking for their next discovery. Established in 1928 by several influential and forward-thinking European hoteliers, Leading Hotels has an eight-decade-long commitment to providing remarkable, authentic travel experiences. The company selects only hotels that meet its high standards for quality and distinctiveness, resulting in a curated portfolio of hotels united not by what makes them the same, but the details that make them different. Leaders Club is the company’s exclusive two-tiered guest loyalty program, consisting of like-minded travelers seeking uncommon travel experiences. The program provides its members with personalized service and exclusive travel benefits to enhance their stays at any Leading Hotel around the world. For more information visit:www.lhw.com, Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LeadingHotels and Instagram @leadinghotelsoftheworld

About WayBlazer
WayBlazer is the world’s first cognitive travel platform. By leveraging IBM Watson and cognitive computing technology, WayBlazer is creating a platform to find every traveler the perfect hotel. This is accomplished by analyzing cues and triggers from the traveler searching for a hotel and personalizing the search results for that particular traveler.

Beyond just finding the best hotels, the cognitive technology re-orders the images and the reviews to present the hotel in the most relevant way for that particular traveler. The combination of the best hotels and personalized presentation and content leads to increased traveler engagement online and improved conversion rates. WayBlazer delivers this technology to companies merchandising hotels and to travel-related companies in search of revenue steams from hotel bookings with an easy-to-use API.

The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas and is led by seasoned travel and technology entrepreneurs, including the Founder of Travelocity/Founding Chairman of Kayak.com, the former GM of IBM Watson, and former President of Sabre Hospitality. For more information, please visit www.wayblazer.com

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing
Watson is the first open cognitive computing technology platform and represents a new era in computing where systems understand the world in the way that humans do: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges.

To advance Watson, IBM has three dedicated business units: Watson, established for the development of cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies that represent the commercialization of "artificial intelligence" or "AI" across a variety of industries; Watson Health, dedicated to improving the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers and other related health organizations to surface new insights from data to and deliver personalized healthcare; and Watson IoT, focused on making sense of data embedded in for more than 9 billion connected devices operating in the world today, which generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data daily. For more information on IBM Watson, visit: ibm.com/Watson and ibm.com/press/Watson.
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