WeChat and Facebook Messenger have been slowlyintegrating travel tools for a while, so it was only a question of time before Slack got in on the act, too.
The enterprise workflow platform is favoured by many tech, media an other companies as an internal mechanism for sharing files and communicating amongst employees.
So, Tripnary, a startup which initially launched as a mobile-first platform that allows users to store travel items of interest and organise according to the airfare (TLabs here), has developed a plug-in for Slack that turns the platform into a flight search engine.
Using the command-based language already integrated into Slack, Tripnary's plug-in searches for flights from Skyscanner and presents the results within the platform.
The free-text element of the system allows for a "natural language" conversation to take place, akin to the way Slack is used as a communication tool.
The use of Skyscanner as a flight inventory feed does not extend to the full B2B white label that it provides to other third parties, with Slack sending the user off to the relevant page on the Skyscanner website to check additional information and modify search results using its existing filters.
Tripnary founder and CEO, Abhishek Ghuwalewala, says the service is a "more natural way to perform queries without filling out forms and boxes of a website/app".
"We support flexible queries like 'find flights from SFO leaving 4/1 under $200' to more specific ones like 'find flights from SFO to NYC leaving 4/1 returning 4/8' and everything in between.
"Performing these queries on Skyscanner's website directly will require multiple clicks and inputs."
Generall, Ghuwalewala argues that chat tools are becoming the "platform of the future", so it makes sense to be building travel search within the framework that users are familiar with.
"We have started with Slack and will be expanding to other message-based apps like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Telegram, SMS/WhatsApp in the near future."
Tripnary says it will be adding hotel search functionality into the Slack system in the near future.