THE IMPACT OF AI IN… TRAVEL
· By Joaquín Paz ·
AI: A Continually Evolving Technology
As artificial intelligence continues to mature as a technology, it presents increasingly reliable and attractive solutions across a variety of applications and industries. The technology has steadily become robust enough to allow AI to handle complex tasks entirely autonomously with consistency and dependability.
AI is data-driven. By making connections and correlations faster than humanly possible, AI can use data to effectively “learn” how to respond to common customer queries and requests. In this way, AI can free personnel from having to deal with routine tasks.
In this sense, AI can be seen as a conceptual extension of automation, in that it relies on computing power to collect and analyze data to carry out processes that previously required human intelligence. AI is being utilized not only to free up human workers, but also increasingly to boost customer engagement, retention, and conversion.
Shifting Challenges Faced by the Travel Industry
Technological innovation promises to provide new opportunities, but the problems facing the travel and tourism sector must be assessed accurately to make the most of these developments.
Travelers are more discerning and informed than ever before, creating a sort of lag in travel marketing, which can appear to be misleading or insufficiently informative. It’s imperative to close this gap, and the travel industry must find new ways to utilize technology to deliver the information and tools that are relevant to travelers.
Travelers are looking for personalized experiences and are turning away from mass-market, one-size-fits-all solutions. Mountains of data need to be analyzed and interpreted to provide the customized, tailored experiences desired by modern travelers. Before AI, this would have been impractical because of the slow speed and prohibitive cost of in-depth analysis.
Another trend in consumer travel is the desire for a seamless travel experience. In a world of changing border controls and increasing security concerns, providing travelers with streamlined itineraries will require real-time data sharing between airlines, ground transportation businesses, hotels, governmental and security entities, and other travel or destination services. Again, this represents the need for processing vast amounts of information quickly enough to take appropriate action.
Finding Solutions in AI
The transformative power of new technologies must be brought to bear on these issues to keep up with these challenges. Deploying AI can facilitate the rapid and accurate analysis of available information. It can also eliminate human error, save businesses time and money, and provide highly specialized information to unique customers around the clock.
AI can be used to improve personalization, provide real-time information as it changes, tailor recommendations for everything from travel options to destination tours and activities. And, of course, AI can ensure rapid and responsive customer service, even when staff isn’t available to handle inquiries.
The Immediate Impact of AI: Increases in Revenue, Reskilling of Workforce
Adopting AI to handle the challenges faced by the travel industry isn’t just a good idea—it’s quickly becoming necessary. As AI provides increased accuracy, more relevant information, and the ability to present consumers with attractive options in a novel and engaging way, sales and revenue can be expected to improve markedly. As travelers receive the solutions they’re looking for in a moment, opportunities for conversion increase exponentially.
There is, however, one more concern to account for—the bottleneck in adopting AI caused by the need to retrain personnel to work with the new technology. Companies may need to increase the number of AI specialists and machine-learning engineers on staff, but they should primarily concentrate on retraining and reskilling their existing employees. Training programs should be put in place to bring the current workforce up to speed.
AI is widely considered the most disruptive new technology, and with good reason. By harnessing this technology now, businesses in the travel industry are setting themselves up to adjust to the changing marketplace and pursue new opportunities for unprecedented growth.
Joaquín Paz, MBA
Co-Founder at MANA, Innovation Consultants