With the internet gaining even greater real traction, there has been a noticeable shift in user behaviour within the travel industry.
More people are going online to book their holidays. It started with flights and thereafter hotel bookings; not long after entire holidays were being booked online. It seems bricks and mortar travel agents’ days are numbered.
Next came the advent of the travel comparison sites. Operating under the pretext of convenience, these sites did all the “heavy-lifting” for the consumer by finding the best travel deals on the web and putting them in one place.
Instead of spending hours researching different options online, consumers could now seamlessly find the best price on a flight or hotel and book it within minutes.
Fast forward to 2019, and we now have an environment where artificial intelligence or AI, is beginning to further transform the travel industry.
Unlike technological innovations of yesteryear, AI is pervasive throughout the entire travel experience, from researching a trip all the way to customer care during and after a holiday. This article explores the ways in which AI is having an impact on the travel industry.
1. Research and planning
The world has become a more complex place. Technology on the whole has helped simplify many aspects of our lives, thus giving us time to take on many more tasks and activities. This trust in technology will continue to perpetuate as technology continues to become more sophisticated.
This is highlighted in a recent survey conducted by Booking.com. which found that at least 30% of travelers would be comfortable in letting a computer plan their next trip. Using AI, companies are now able to create tailored holiday recommendations based on a combination of unique preferences.
By leveraging an array of machine learning algorithms, these companies are able to augment the quality of their service over time. More people using the service translates into a larger data input, which means by having more information to learn from, the algorithms are able to improve efficiency, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.
2. Booking a plane ticket
Gone are the days of having to visit a travel agent to book a flight ticket. You don’t even need to start your ticket enquiry on an airline’s website anymore.
Chatbots using AI are able to facilitate a booking query on social media platforms like Facebook or even using Google Assistant. Once a user has found the flight they like, they are then directed to the airline website to make the booking. The airline most notable for pioneering this AI-led booking experience was KLM when it launched it’s chatbot, BB, in 2017.
3. Hotel room assistants
Once you’ve arrived at your destination and have checked into your hotel, AI remains by your side through this part of the journey as well. AI-powered voice assistants can now be found in a large number of hotels around the world. Using a strand of AI called natural language processing, these voice assistants are able to maximise a guest’s stay by answering questions, carrying out requests, and even offering real-time recommendations on activities in the area.
Although still nascent, both Amazon and IBM have recently launched their own hospitality voice assistants which certainly is testament to the potential of this technology.