Travel breaks the monotony in an individual’s life by lending experiences of new places and new people. It infuses the much required freshness into a repetitive lifestyle, and hence taking three to four breaks (a combination of short and long) have become essential for all.
Due to this increasing need to travel, it is also an ever evolving space where innovation, technology and, now, even Artificial Intelligence are paving their way. Travel and hospitality brands are now eager to deliver a real added value for travellers by embedding AI into their existing online search and booking platforms.
From identifying hot trends, behavioural patterns, and demographics, AI in travel is finally proving to be a powerful force in the travel business. Planning a holiday is always cumbersome with various elements to be taken into consideration.
From travel recommendations suiting your budgets to finding the right hotel in the finest location is best left to experts. Whether you are an art lover, a music aficionado, history enthusiast or just plain adventure seeker, your entire itinerary is taken care of.
Suitable recommendations considering even minute details like the distance from the hotel to your destination, eateries around you, entrance fees, to even suggesting options on how to spend your day is chartered as per the travellers personal taste, all thanks to AI.
At its core, AI automates computer processes to mimic the human brain, aggregating all the information garnered. While there are many fields that comprise AI, two that are commonly used for everyday applications are Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine learning.
NLP helps computers understand human speech or typing. Machine learning refers to computer programmes that learn from new information without having to be explicitly programmed.
Together, they enable computers to respond to specific requests, and improve the relevance of responses over time.
Caching the database of a consumer’s history of travel from social media platforms — which include travel reviews, specific recommendations and preferences — entities are now able to create reference engines that use machine learning to sift through all the data.
The vast information that travel companies possess — the kind of travellers’ activity preferences — make the travel industry well suited to AI, thereby generating more effective solutions that can be offered to customers.
In addition, the sea of information on the world wide web effectively aggregated from multiple websites provide a near accurate information on the best holiday or travel solution for a particular travel requirement. It is no longer essential for the travel brand to send its staff on familiarisation trips to places that they want to offer customers.
All this information is easily available to them at a click using a robust AI platform that throws up results based on the defined parameters.
With this advent of AI in travel, achieving this state of personalised travelled is now becoming possible. The challenge lies in catering to the high expectations of travellers. AI can help the travel companies in automating customer service using tools like chatbots.
This tool aids with analysing past user details, queries, preferences and FAQs making it easy to navigate through a well laid out travel plan. The key to making the most of bots for business travel lies in empowering employees to engage directly.
This will deliver a service that is best for both the traveller and the travel business. Apart from bringing agility to the table, AI delivers compelling business values.
While adopted only by the front-runners of the industry only, this is the future of travel. Applying AI tools to travel data will open up an abundance of opportunities to improve experiences. As it develops, AI will help simplify complex travel decisions, shorten the buying process and deliver a more personalised offering.
By automating lower priority tasks, it will free up human travel agents to add more value.
Only time will tell how far AI and human-machine interfaces truly transform travel research and the user experience across a broad spectrum of brands. But the AI wave has begun and will get more mainstream.
The writer is Co-founder and Managing Director, Holidayme.