Agents as Agents: A Virtual Assistant for Self-bookings in Travel
Anckar, B., Olofsson, S., and Walden, P. (2000), ?Agents as Agents: A Virtual Assistant for Self-bookings in Travel?. IAMSR Research Report 4/2000. Institute for Advanced Management Systems Research, ?bo Akademi University. The cutting edge for travel industry today is turning towards electronic commerce. It is one of the industries where business is conducted successfully on the Internet already today, and where the importance of electronic commerce is likely to grow. Consumers are offered great opportunities for convenient and inexpensive travel bookings, but at the same time face certain problems and limitations in this regard. Information overload on the Internet is a fact as well as a lot of rules when making the travel arrangements, meaning that the consumer online reservation systems, where the consumer himself is responsible for planning the trip and making the arrangements, may prove to be too complicated for all but the most sophisticated users. Since the Spring of 1998 we have been investigating the opportunities offered as well as the problems facing consumers trying to make their own travel reservations on the internet. Based on these studies we are convinced that in order for the consumer to accomplish his travel arrangements more effectively on the Internet he will need support. We have developed a software agent, FareTracer, to assist consumers who make their owntravel reservations on the World Wide Web. The agent is accomplishing specialized tasks on behalf of the consumer, and acts towards reaching certain consumer specified goals with a certain amount of autonomy and flexibility. The system is implemented as a pure Java
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