American Express has acquired chat-based travel assistant Mezi with terms of the deal undisclosed.
Mezi will join the global consumer services division of Amex with the aim of helping card members with their travel plans.
According to a statement the acquisition follows a 2016 investment made by Amex Ventures in Mezi which piloted AskAmex for card members last year.
Amex now plans to improve how it uses mobile to help travelling card members.
Mezi, which was founded in 2015, began as a shopping assistant but pivoted to travel in 2016.
The Mezi service enables travellers to message requests for flights, hotel or restaurant reservations, and it then serves up recommendations and makes bookings. The company combines human experience with artificial intelligence to provide travellers with a more personalised service.
Phil Norman, vice president of American Express Digital Labs says:
“With messaging emerging as channel of choice for many, and the demand for unique experiences increasing, we believe the combination of Mezi’s capabilities with our global network of expert travel counselors creates a differentiated, high-touch service experience for our Card Members.”
Swapnil Shinde, co-founder and CEO and Snehal Shinde, co-founder and CTO will stay on after the acquisition to lead Mezi, which will continue as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amex.
The company will also continue to develop its chat-based travel concierge services.
Going forward, Mezi will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Express and will continue to develop its chat-based travel concierge service.
It would make sense for it to continue to work with American Express Global Business Travel, especially around the AI-based policy which Mezi has talked about in the past.
There are already a number of companies in the corporate space using chat-based technology, including TripActions, which emerged from beta a year ago and Lola, which relaunched to focus on corporate travel recently.
Sabre to test 'virtual travel agent' with two agencies