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Ascott clinches SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024 for AI chatbot

Cubby reimagines the guest journey with a GenAI-powered virtual ‘travel buddy’.

The Ascott Limited (Ascott), the lodging business unit wholly owned by CapitaLand Investment (CLI), was recognised at the recent SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024. The global hospitality company clinched the AI – Hospitality & Leisure award for its innovative introduction of GenAI chatbot Cubby, driving tech-forward hospitality for travellers around the world. 

Keeping pace with the evolving expectations of modern travellers, Ascott unveiled Cubby last year, leveraging AI to elevate the guest experience with 24/7 on-demand travel planning.

The ChatGPT-fuelled chatbot is meticulously designed to assist guests with various facets of travel, including itinerary planning, accommodation recommendations and even seamless room bookings via deep links. It is also equipped to provide travel insights including destination highlights, must-visit attractions, as well as the best ‘Instagram-worthy’ spots, to name a few. Cubby consolidates these services into a single, user-friendly platform, positioning it as a reliable virtual travel companion for guests around the world.

Ms Tan Bee Leng, Chief Commercial Officer, Ascott and Managing Director, Digital Ventures, CLI, said: “An exciting quest of learning and discovery begins as Ascott takes its first step into the future of personalised travel exploration with the pilot launch of Cubby, where innovation meets warm and cuddly hospitality. Cubby, with its AI prowess, taps into a vast treasure trove of data, enabling fast analysis of travel preferences, trends, and recommendations; from suggesting hidden gems to tailoring itineraries that match specific areas of interests. As we journey alongside our valued guests in this shared adventure of experimentation, every interaction with Cubby is set to unlock a realm of limitless possibilities in AI-driven travel planning.”

Elevating Customer Support

Cubby provides customer support around the clock, responding to common inquiries about Ascott’s properties. This 24/7 availability not only benefits guests but also allows Ascott’s live chat agents to focus on addressing more complex inquiries which require deeper and more thorough engagement with guests. 

In cases where Cubby encounters difficulty understanding a request, users are seamlessly redirected to a live chat agent for further assistance, ensuring a continuous and exceptional level of customer service.

To develop Cubby’s ability to understand and respond to a wide range of travel-related queries, Ascott leveraged natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to ensure that they provide accurate information. Currently, in its test-bedding stage where learnings are still key, the chatbot is constantly improving its ability to comprehend diverse user inputs and deliver relevant responses through extensive training on vast datasets and ongoing interactions with guests.

Guests have expressed their great satisfaction with the chatbot's ability to simplify the often-complex process of travel planning. Since its launch, Ascott has witnessed a significant 49% increase in the duration of visitor engagement on its website, underscoring an increased level of interaction with its content and potential comprehension of its brands.

Next Phase of Cubby

Looking ahead, the project is poised for exciting developments that will greatly enhance the chatbot’s capabilities, such as the integration of real-time updates on local food scenes and festivals. 

Cubby will also become multichannel in its later phase, seamlessly integrating with different applications for greater convenience. Improved language capabilities will also be implemented to ensure that Cubby is optimised for local use. This integration will allow Cubby to respond instantly across channels, using the guest’s preferred language and platform whilst handling an immense volume of guest inquiries simultaneously and consistently.

With the ambition to drive tech-forward hospitality, technology has been a critical enabler to all aspects of the guest experience across Ascott’s portfolio of brands. Ascott will continue uncovering innovative solutions to improve efficiency and elevate its future readiness.

SBR Technology Excellence Awards recognises exceptional companies in Singapore that are riding the digital disruption wave and leading the technological revolution and digital journeys of their respective industries.

The SBR Technology Excellence Awards is presented by Singapore Business Review Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2025 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's outstanding contributions in pursuit of technological innovation, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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