Our inspiration for MyTravelAgent came after learning about a downtrend in companies offering travel assistance while the need continues to grow. According to, The non-profit Open Doors Organization who just released its 2015 Market Study "More than 26 million adults with disabilities took 73 million trips, spending $17.3 billion." we were inspired to use the Amazon Echo to increase accessibility for anyone who wants to travel is able to use just their voice.
What it does
By providing a voice-centered user-interface experience, MyTravelAgent allows anyone who owns an Amazon Echo to search for airfare or hotel bookings while getting the most competitive pricing by using the Expedia APIs.
How we built it
We created the skill in node.js and used a Lambda function with the Amazon Web Service to make the skill available to all Echo users. To retrieve the data we used a Natural Language Hotel search, flight search, and the suggestions and resolutions APIs from Expedia.
Challenges we ran into
Creating the voice drive UI was by far the most difficult part of the project. The Amazon Echo is created to handle single ask and tell conversations meaning that it doesn't carry any of the conversation over to the next question. In order to create a multiple part question or search string it required using session attributes as JSON strings to pass out and in for each question the user needs to answer to make a booking.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Building the the next generation of automated virtual assistants and getting in on the ground floor the Amazon Echo platform.
What we learned
We learned how to store individual pieces of a conversation or interactions in between intents called between the user and Amazon Alexa.
What's next for My Travel Agent
We will continue to refine the UI for the system and plan on making this skill available to everyone who owns an Amazon Echo.