As Artificial Intelligence (AI) evolves, travel managers try to keep up with its evolution and impact on the traveller experience. Even those who closely follow the subject find new developments being announced almost daily. Here are a few topics useful for travel managers to know:
Artificial Intelligence is all around us
Artificial Intelligence combines data and machine learning to enable automation and provide real-time predictive information. Applying a layer of AI to the data we create daily enables better efficiencies when interpreted and processed. You may notice some of your everyday technology interactions are touched by AI. Do you receive recommendations of what song to listen to next or maybe an item to add to your shopping cart? That type of interaction comes from an analysis of a pool of data, algorithmically interpreted to produce a personalised recommendation.
A long time coming
The travel industry deals with an abundance of data – especially from business travellers who use travel services most frequently. Since AI becomes more effective as more data is made available to evaluate, this makes the travel industry fertile ground from which to sprout new AI platforms and applications. New application data can be mined from older legacy data and used in enhancing experiences and decision-making. Many TMCs including Corporate Travel Management have increased their investment in the right tools and technologies that incorporate AI to achieve business goals and fine-tune the traveller experience.
End user experience
This technology is currently available in the travel industry and a growing number of business travellers have come to rely on AI solutions. Whether used by the TMC’s travel consultants when booking client travellers, or incorporated into online booking tools or third-party services, it is becoming more and more essential when planning travel and enhancing the travel experience. This potential personalisation is valuable in making the traveller feel taken care of while traveling.
Artificial intelligence can improve and automate business-travel bookings, providing travel managers with speedy access to the most cost-effective and rewarding options for their travel programs. AI applications include tools to help with price forecasting for volatile inventory such as flights and hotels, or tools to assist travellers with quick access to relevant information.
Watch this space! Although AI is still very much in development with new applications being discovered, we’re already starting to see some of the ways AI is helping shape the next generation of travel management. In the end AI will not replace human service, but only enhance it. What remains most important for TMCs is to balance service and technology.