Global travel search engine Skyscanner has announced the launch of a Facebook Messenger bot allowing users to search for flights conversationally.

Available to any Messenger user typing in English, travellers will be able to interact with the bot to ask for live flight prices, as well as to ask Skyscanner for destination inspiration.

The flight search bot responds with answers to user travel queries in a natural conversational manner. Messenger users can then follow a link to Skyscanner’s site to book their chosen travel itinerary.

Skyscanner has been an early adopter when it comes to the recent conversational search trend. Earlier this year the metasearch site became the world’s first travel search brand to create a voice search skill for the Amazon Alexa voice service and now with the launch of the Messenger bot, Skyscanner has ensured that it has been ahead of the curve in the travel search space.

The Messenger bot combines several components of Skyscanner’s technology. In addition to the travel search engine’s flights API data, the bot also returns inspirational destination suggestions based on user search trends and cheapest pricing, similar to the ‘Everywhere’ functionality in its website and apps. Users can simply type “not sure” when asked where they wish to go, and suggestions start to appear.

 Filip Filipov, director at Skyscanner commented, “The messaging economy and conversational search are areas which we believe are incredibly important evolutionary features for the travel industry. It has been a top priority for us to take a pioneering approach when it comes to building a bot for the Messenger Platform. We want to make travel search as easily accessible as possible, and believe that the launch of our Messenger bot will allow more people to search for their travel in a fun and informative way.”