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The travel industry did experience turmoil during the pandemic, in a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, the industry suffered a loss of $4.5million. The rapid growth post-pandemic therefore calls for efficiency in structures and systems to ensure that the needs of increasing travellers are met.
In a 2020 travel global survey report conducted by Amadeus, it was found that technology plays a crucial role in supporting recovery as over 4 in 5 (84%) travellers said technology would increase their confidence to travel in the next 12 months by addressing concerns around mixing with crowds, social distancing and physical touch point OTA’s and travel companies are able to streamline their operations and increase customer satisfaction.
What is AI?
Without intelligence, AI wouldn’t be a rave of the moment so let’s take a look at what sets it apart from other inventions.
Intelligence is defined as a series of capabilities– one’s ability to understand the environment and phenomena that occur, the ability to take advantage of previous experience and combine the knowledge available to respond appropriately to a new challenge. (Rudas &Fudor 2008)
Synonymous, with how planes fly like birds but use different mechanisms, AI tries to obtain similar thinking as humans but through different mechanisms. While there is a lot of work to do to ensure AI sound neutral, its enormous growth over the years has earned it a leading technology.
Depending on the need, AI is able to perform some human tasks better and faster.
AI depends on big data, processing abilities and algorithms. Each of these three segments has experienced enormous change in recent times.
First, is the refining and complexity of AI algorithms. Second is a remarkable improvement in processing abilities and lastly, is the development of new and more powerful sources and systems that allow storage for massive datasets.
4 types of development AI has undergone over the years
- Limited memory
- Theory of mind
- Self- awareness
- Reactive machines
Over the years, there has been a massive adoption of AI within the travel industry for actions such as accommodation, flight booking and personalization it has also enabled effective operations in airlines and hotels allowing them to increase revenue.
How AI is Changing the travel industry
- AI systems are adopted to automate processes such as air ticketing, baggage handling, marketing and sales.
- AI is used to enhance personalized experiences for travellers
- Hotels can use AI-driven systems to tailor recommendations and guarantee fast response
- it assists in communicating with customers
- Hotel owners are able to deploy AI for problem-solving and data analysis
- AI can be used to correct lighting, music and temperature in a hotel room without asking the concierge or hotel management
- AI promote mobility within the travel industry
- With products like Guidgeek individuals do not need to get a tour guide, every piece of information they need is at their fingertips
- The rise of AI-based translation is particularly useful for travellers visiting a country that speaks a language different from theirs
- We have seen the use of AI and robotics at restaurants, as AI improves and the travel industry prioritises customer satisfaction we might see the same for baggage handling at the airport.
Benefits of AI in the travel industry
Speaking at the 2023 TTI travel tech summit in Roberto De Re noted that “AI will continue to have a big impact in the travel sphere provided it is used within the right context”.
- Processes are becoming more automated as travellers will be able to book flights and accommodation at a go.
- it is easier to detect security breaches and malicious activity with AI facial recognition and fingertips
- Users have access to unlimited personalized advice and suggestions
- With access to data, it is easier to predict what the changes in the industry will look like.
- AI has been advantageous as it helps customers make a decision by having access to varying prices, deals and offers.
Use Of AI In The Travel Industry
- Expedia’s AI-driven Virtual Agent: Expedia developed an AI-driven virtual travel agent named “Expedia Virtual Agent (EVA)” to assist customers in finding and booking their travel arrangements. EVA uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to understand customer inquiries and provide personalized recommendations, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and increased bookings.
The information and guidance travelers need to book a trip has increased since the start of the pandemic. At the same time, our travel partners have faced financial pressures and reduced headcount
Ariane Gorin, President of Expedia Business Services.
2. Hilton’s AI-driven Concierge: Hilton utilized an AI-driven concierge named after its founder Conrad and is available in select hotels. Connie, powered by IBM’s Watson AI technology, assists guests with various inquiries, including hotel information, local recommendations, and personalized suggestions. It enhances the guest experience by providing instant and accurate assistance. When a guest asks for directions, for instance, it can move itself to literally point in the right direction. Its eyes light up in different colors to express understanding, confusion, delight, and other human emotions. It uses arm gestures and body language to provide help to guests.
3. KLM’s Social Media Support: KLM, the Dutch airline, uses AI technology to provide customer support on social media platforms. On average KLM receives over 130,000 mentions and 15,000 conversations weekly. They employ AI algorithms to analyze customer inquiries and respond with automated, personalized messages. This approach enables KLM to handle a large volume of customer interactions efficiently while maintaining a high level of customer service. By using artificial intelligence, KLM makes conversations with our customers even more timely, correct, and personal.
Heavy snowfall in the Netherlands last week, caused a significant increase of the number of questions on social media. Passengers obviously expect a timely answer. With the use of AI we support our service agents with technology and should be able to answer many more questions in a shorter period of time”. This is exactly what the customer needsPieter Groeneveld, Senior Vice President Digital, Air-France KLM
4. Cleartrip’s Price Predictions: Cleartrip is a travel agency based in India that uses AI algorithms to analyze historical data and predict future flight prices. The AI-powered system helps travelers make informed decisions by providing price forecasts and recommendations on whether to book now or wait for a better deal, resulting in cost savings for customers. Careful consideration of factors such as amendment analysis, cancellation analysis and real-time data makes it easy for this AI-driven system to provide accurate data to its users.
5. WayBlazer’s Travel Recommendations: WayBlazer Travel recommendation uses natural language processing and machine learning to provide personalized travel recommendations. Their AI platform analyzes user preferences, past behavior, and contextual data to offer tailored suggestions for accommodations, activities, and destinations, enhancing the travel planning experience.
6. Amadeus’ AI-driven Revenue Management System: Amadeus Revenue Management System (RMS) Is an AI-driven system that utilizes machine learning algorithms to optimize pricing and inventory management for airlines and hotels, helping them maximize revenue and occupancy rates.
7. Airbnb’s Search Ranking Algorithm: Airbnb leverages AI algorithms to enhance its search ranking system. The algorithm considers various factors such as user preferences, location, availability, and pricing to provide personalized and relevant search results to users, improving the booking experience and increasing customer satisfaction.
8. Hopper’s AI-driven Flight Price Prediction: Hopper, a mobile app for flight and hotel bookings, uses AI and machine learning to predict flight prices. The app analyzes vast amounts of historical data to provide users with accurate price predictions and advice on whether to book now or wait, helping travelers save money on their flights.
9. Guidegeek (AI-powered travel planning assistant): This AI-powered travel personal assistant curates travel, backpacking, deals, travel budget food and tour-specific guide to travellers [custom itineraries, visa information and hotels or AirBnb.