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WEX and AI.io Collaborate for Voice-Enabled Travel Booking

Zacks Equity Research

WEX Inc. WEX yesterday announced its partnership with AI.io, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) solutions providers.

The companies have teamed up to launch — Halo Travel, a voice-activated travel chat bot. Powered by Booking Holdings’ BKNG Priceline Partner Network and created by AI.io, Halo Travel is deemed to be the first application to enable hotel and flight bookings exclusively through voice.

We observe that shares of WEX have gained 7.7% in the past year, outperforming the 7.1% rise of the industry it belongs to.

 

Halo Travel is expected to provide personalized travel assistance, by understanding customers’ travel habits and patterns, through its inbuilt AI. The travel app can be operated through any device having Internet connection. With the help of Alphabet’s GOOGL Google Assistant, customers can process their entire travel transaction by just saying, “Hey Google, Talk to Halo Travel.”

WEX will be facilitating payment from Halo Travel to Priceline Partner Network through its virtual payments technology, thereby ensuring a seamless payment process.

Jim Pratt, senior vice president, Travel, WEX Corporate Payments, stated, “WEX is proud to help bring this travel innovation to market, adding convenience to booking travel by providing our best-in-class virtual payments technology.”

Our Take

The partnership is likely to help WEX strengthen its Travel and Corporate Solutions segment, which is highly dependent on the online travel market. Performance of the segment was strong in the last reported quarter with revenues improving 35.7% year over year. The segment contributed around 22% to WEX’s third-quarter 2018 revenues.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

WEX carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

A better-ranked stock in the broader Zacks Business Services sector is Republic Services RSG, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Long-term expected EPS (three to five years) growth rate for the company is 10.7%.

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