JTB sells chat system to reduce contact between hotel staff and customers


The large travel agency JTB Corp. has started selling a system to accommodation establishments in Japan that allows their customers to chat with staff using their own smartphones, with the aim of preventing the spread of the coronavirus by reducing face-to-face contact.

The photo provided shows an image of the “Kotozna In-room” chat system. (Photo courtesy of JTB Corp.) (Kyodo)

The system, “Kotozna In-room,” jointly developed with Kotozna Inc., a Tokyo-based multilingual chat service provider, can translate 109 languages, enabling communication with foreign guests in their native language.

Although some accommodation establishments use tablets installed in the rooms for communication, the new system, which went on sale on October 1, “may further alleviate the fear of infections, as only owners touch their smartphones for personal use in the room. most cases, “said a spokesperson for JTB. .

Once guests of hotels, traditional Japanese “ryokan” inns and other accommodation have scanned a QR code for the service via their smartphones, they can chat with accommodation staff from anywhere within the facilities. without downloading an application.

The protracted coronavirus epidemic has hit the tourism industry. The government is implementing a subsidy program to boost demand for domestic travel, and the industry hopes to attract tourists while taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Even after the restrictions on entry of foreign tourists to Japan were lifted after the pandemic was contained, the system should be useful in serving foreign guests as letters typed by them in their native language will automatically be translated into Japanese for display. on the terminals staff accommodation.

The system should also help streamline operations in accommodation establishments. Some simple questions can be answered automatically by an artificial intelligence-based chatbot, allowing staff to perform other tasks.

To introduce the service, accommodation establishments pay JTB a minimum of 253,000 yen ($ 2,400), depending on the size of the establishment, plus a monthly fee of a few hundred yen per room.

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