Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly infiltrating every element of the travel experience. AI is already being used to customise the search process, assist with travel planning, improve customer engagement, boost conversion rates and personalise the entire guest experience. Travel companies are leveraging AI in order to learn more about their customers, influence their decision making and increase bookings.
1. Trip Planning
The travel industry is utilising AI to create tailored travel recommendations based around a range of unique customer preferences. According to a Booking.com survey, nearly 1/3 of travellers would feel comfortable allowing a computer to plan their next trip based on previous travel history.
A smart AI-powered travel app can now use your unique travel preferences and previous travel history to create an itinerary suited specifically to you. Whether you are an adventure-seeking nomad or prefer a touch of luxury when travelling, using artificial intelligence, online tools can guide you through your entire travel experience, tailoring it to suit your needs and wants.
A range of travel companies are leveraging AI travel technology to deliver completely customised trip planning services. Most AI-powered travel tools ask travellers to provide information regarding food and drink preferences, budget, travel dates and trip type to get started on planning their trip. In this way, AI is allowing travel-related companies to provide improved customer service and a more tailored travel experience.
2. Customer Service
Artificial intelligence in the travel industry is also proving incredibly useful for improving customer service. AI travel technology is both more efficient and more responsive. Unlike human-based services, with the ability to be active 24/7, AI technology is available all the time.
Compared to offline services, intelligent Chatbots offer constant service, giving them the ability to respond to customer queries in record time. Chatbots are also able to utilise large amounts of data to tailor their recommendations to the customer, providing them with a more personalised experience.
Such AI-powered tools are appearing increasingly popular amongst travel agencies given their ability to improve customer engagement and hence booking rates. Vienna Airport has recently teamed up with FTE Startup Hub member Bespoke to launch an AI chatbot service. The chatbot, called Bebot, is being deployed to provide answers to travellers’ questions regarding COVID-19, facility information and directions. Visitors can access Bebot on mobile or desktop devices, using the Airport’s on-site Wi-Fi, without the need to download an application or complete account registration.
3. Data Analysis
Artificial intelligence is also beneficial for the travel industry because of its aid in collecting and analysing huge amounts of data. Such data analysis will prove incredibly useful for travel companies to find out more about their customers and influence their decision making process.
For example, such AI travel tech can be utilised to find customer pricing preferences, accommodation ideals, preferred destinations and activities. The AI-powered systems can even read customer reviews, allowing them to analyse what travellers want and need out of their trips. In this way, AI technology in the travel industry minimises time and effort spent tracking customer preferences and assists in generating increased leads.
4. Brand Management
Artificial intelligence in travel is helping companies monitor and manage their brand reputation. Online customer reviews play a crucial role in attracting business and ultimately gaining conversions. Therefore, negative online comments can seriously harm any travel-based company which relies on excellent customer service.
When a traveller wants to know about a travel agency, their first point of call is to check online reviews. AI technology is helping travel companies to monitor online customer reviews and comments on social media platforms. This means that businesses can automatically track their brand in the market and manage it accordingly.
This type of AI is proving particularly useful for hotels and airline companies. Hotels and airlines can pro-actively respond to negative reviews and comments and analyse market trends to see what it is their customers want. Overall, AI for brand management enables travel agencies to improve brand, sales and revenues.
5. Against COVID-19
With many keen travellers still apprehensive to jet off anywhere soon, travel agencies are utilising AI to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Gerald R. Ford International Airport is currently testing a comprehensive suite of AI tools that utilise ultra-violet (UV) technology to destroy the microbiology of the Coronavirus.
One AI device being tested by the Ford Airport is an autonomous robot that disinfects using UV technology. This AI technology is designed to meet the disinfecting needs of all airport touch points, including the floor, open spaces, surfaces and traveller’s personal items. The robot is thought to kill 99.99% of bacteria, viruses and fungi or pathogens by emitting concentrated UV-C light onto surfaces. AI allows the robot to move without human interference and it can disinfect a whole room in just 10-15 minutes without the use of any chemicals.
Such AI technology will hopefully make the travel experience less anxiety-inducing for those who can’t hold off travelling for much longer.