From being a science fiction narrative to a real world use case, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way in disrupting many industries. Among them, the travel and tourism industry is standing at the cusp of never before seen adoptions. Adoptions which will revolutionize not only the way travel services are delivered and consumed, but also to get deeper insights into influential factors which determines consumer behavior on various platforms
I believe that four factors are due to be influenced by the might of AI. These factors will forever change the way the travel and tourism industry is operating today.
Factor number 1: Relevance
Any world beating technology succeeds if its application is relevant to solve challenges at hand. The same applies to AI in our industry. Right from enabling consumers to find best deals, or notifies them when fares plummet. The technology, as a tool needs to apply to current world challenges to deliver a better quality of service, and reduce cost of production in the long run.
Dutch airline KLM uses Chatbots and apps to send boarding passes and flight info via Viber, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and other similar apps. Kayak communicates info such as flight delays and gate changes via Chatbots and can even answer questions like “where can I travel for $1000?”
Factor number 2: Customer service
We all know that hiring and maintaining customer service teams are a bane, and thank god for Chatbots. It allows businesses to answer simple questions and solve issues then and there. And Chatbots can be deployed to serve consumers round the clock. So, effectively you will be available for business 24/7.
Hilton hotels have developed a chatbot, it is an actual robot named Connie who assists guests at check-in and advises them on local attractions and things to do.
Factor number 3: No more searches…
What do we do today to book a flight or a hotel? We use Google for search, aggregators for rates and deals, and may be talk/email customer service to get a few of our questions answered. However, technologies like AI driven Chatbots can make this linear buying process into a conversational one.
With enough use cases and training the AI, a Chatbot can answer, produce information, rates, deals, and accept bookings all in one window. The aim of new age AI led services is to turn booking processes conversational.
A Skyscanner stakeholder says “We’ve always believed that people would go from click-type-tap style searching to a conversational format. Interestingly, those using our bots treat them in a very ‘human’ way – ask for the bot’s name, send an email or sticker of appreciation.”
Factor number 4: New insights
Analyzing internal data is what AI coupled with Machine Learning (ML) is good at. With hordes of consumer purchase or historical browser data, it is possible to ascertain when people buy more or buy less.
IBM has built a technology which analyses weather patterns to see when people respond best to weather-sensitive purchases, for example, booking holidays when the weather in your hometown is miserable.
What about external the data? Social commentaries (or as we call it reviews) are the single most influential factor which determine if people book your hotel or someone else’s. With AI, social data can be reviewed and new insights can be gained to tailor products and services for the first time. External data like weather data can be crunched to see how often and when people choose a particular travel destination.
Authored by Anil Kumar Prasanna, CEO, AxisRooms