Technology Pioneers – Interview With Joy Ghose of FreeD Group

Technology Joy Ghose

FreeD Group uses AI-related technologies to improve business efficiency and productivity.

Over the past 15 years, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of FreeD Group Limited, Joy Ghose, has accumulated plenty of experience in the travel and technology industry. Before joining FreeD Group, Ghose was involved in sales, marketing and management roles at companies like Merlin Entertainments and The Hong Kong Tourism Board.

After joining FreeD Group in 2021, he has taken on the role of the CCO and has helped accelerate the growth and expansion of the company. “AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning are some of my favorite innovations in the field… With technology advancing and evolving, it will make our lives much more accessible and convenient. And above all, it saves time,” says Ghose.

Named by the World Economic Forum as “Technology Pioneers”, FreeD Group Limited is a Hong Kong-based technology startup offering proprietary AI-driven smart commerce and merchandising solutions to companies worldwide. They have over two hundred partners, including major companies, like Samsung, China Mobile and BMW. Here’s a look at how FreeD Group has developed and incorporated AI-related technologies into its business.

Stepping outside the “comfort zone”

When FreeD Group was first established in 2015 by its founders Abel Zhao and Kenneth Lee, they noticed a huge demand for a digital transformation in the traveling and hospitality industry. Hence, they decided to step outside their comfort zones and “leverage their AI and machine learning edge to provide unique on-demand and standard solutions to enterprises,” says Ghose.

They are well-known for their end-to-end solutions, which supply all the software and hardware requirements of the client such that no other supplier is involved. “Unlike other providers in the market, our end-to-end solutions tackle every part of digital commerce capability, from data collection and analytics, merchandising, and operations to marketing and CRM, without engaging with various solution providers,” Ghose expounds.

With the success of their end-to-end solutions in 2020, FreeD Group extended its product offerings from hotel and tourism to customer electronics, beauty and food and beverage (F&B) products to serve the end customers better. As a result, he notes, this expansion has “broadened supplier networks to help enterprises capture additional sales potential with ancillary products and services.” The reason for this, Ghose adds, is that “as we continued to grow our business, we saw a lack of similar solutions that offer one-stop-shop AI-driven smart commerce services in the travel and hospitality industry and other sectors.”

Last month, FreeD Group partnered with Google to set up a joint business plan, which will “accelerate our global expansion and technology advancement while driving revenue growth,” says Ghose. “With Google’s support and industry data, we will be able to upgrade product offerings and enjoy priority access to new beta products.”

Development of their AI Chatbot Service

Being one of the first companies in Asia to integrate AI technology, marketing solutions and e-commerce on a single platform, FreeD Group was ahead of everyone’s game in AI development and gathering big data. Their signature AI Chatbot Travel Concierge Service, in particular, is one of the most creative and impressive solutions for maximizing sales potential. It provides itinerary planning, restaurant booking, transport directions and instant translation to its users. 

Ghose mentions that the main inspiration for the AI Chatbot was poor customer experience. Back in 2015, their company “realized that this [online travel platform] couldn’t solve the customers’ pain points—lack of personalized support and language barriers during travel.” To solve this problem, he tells us, “We moved our team to Silicon Valley for one year to build our first AI Chatbot.” 

Unlike most chatbots that can only handle common and highly-specific questions, FreeD Group takes it one step further and has developed a personalized AI Chatbot that can deal with all kinds of inquiries and tasks. Ghose says their AI Chatbot “has enabled personalization based on the user’s profile and customer behavior, supporting enterprises to capture more sales opportunities.” 

As a result, a single AI Chatbot can take over the jobs of an entire customer service team and can process thousands of inquiries at the same time. This can help the company cost-effectively shorten the average response time when dealing with customer inquiries.

Ghose reveals that, in 2021, the company helped their partners achieve 45% customer engagement improvement and increase their average conversion rate to 4.5%. “This shows AI Chatbot can improve customer experience and increase customer satisfaction,” he asserts. 

What the future holds for FreeD Group 

With the advancement of AI technologies, FreeD Group aims to widen the use of its products across different industries other than the travel and hospitality sectors. “The deployment and adaptation of AI technology will be able to help [the] industry [and its players] to understand their customers better through big data and digitize the exploratory and booking journey with tailor-made recommendations,” says Ghose. 

In the near future, FreeD Group will expand its business from its existing Asian hubs in Seoul and Shanghai to Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. as well as two other technology check posts in Toronto and Singapore. 

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Header Image Courtesy of FreeD Group Limited

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