‘The chat bots are coming’, headlined the Washington Post in an article this week. Bots, a ‘seemingly nerdy new product’ are ‘the programming trend of the day in Silicon Valley’, wrote the Guardian. In this week of media fanfare after Facebook announced that ‘Bots on Messenger’ are coming, one could be mistaken for thinking they are new. A quick scan, however, of chatbots.org, a directory featuring over a thousand of the world’s virtual assistants from a range of different industries, proves that this is not the case. In fact, the first ever chat bot, Eliza, was born in 1966 and parodies a therapist to answer questions of patients undergoing Rogerian treatment, a form of person-centred psychotherapy. On the hotel front Julia is a Polish virtual assistant for Hotel Chobry and focuses strongly on localisation. And Travelodge has Andrea, which uses the technology specifically to reduce the number of routine inbound customer service queries to the call centre. Travelodge says this saves hugely on customer service costs while also increasing customer satisfaction levels. Get the full sory at EyeForTravel