In the travel industry, there is one primary goal: get your customers to where they need to be at the time they need to be there. What goes into making your travel experience as smooth as possible, starts with the underlying technologies. Mobilizing has never been so easy and accessible to the average traveler. Technology has already had an impact on travel, reducing friction from arrival to departure; from flight notifications to your virtual boarding pass, these efficiencies have become normalized in many ways. However, there is much left unwritten in travel tech, particularly with the exponentially growing popularity and applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
There is limitless potential when it comes to the convergence of Artificial Intelligence and travel. Airlines and hotels share a common characteristic, a breadth of human interaction with their consumers, making their use of AI particularly intriguing. Unlike typical 21st century software companies, airlines and hotels need to allocate more resources to customer support and sentiment maintenance. Inherently, traveling is accompanied with various face-to-face interactions. Whether it be hotel desk clerk or the flight attendants, these individuals have a responsibility to make the journey as frictionless as possible for travelers. The question is, in an industry that is requires so much human interaction, how can AI be used to expedite and enhance the experience of the traveller. AI-driven travel companies are working towards answering that question and delivering data-driven solutions to airline and hotels.
To understand how Artificial Intelligence can be applied to a human centric industry, it is important to understand what big data is. Big data refers to very large datasets that are unable to be processed through standard processing tools (e.g. Microsoft Excel). These types of datasets have existed for decades (e.g. flight pattern data), but what has enabled innovation and change is the technologies that allow us to collect and analyze this data. Some travel tech companies solely focus on analyzing specific big datasets to develop a deeper understanding of patterns and trends. They develop AI-driven solutions for larger entities, like airlines, to implement and improve their operations.
Big data, coupled with AI, has provided numerous discoveries to better understand human behavior, preferences, and interactions at a high level. This type of big data is particularly useful in travel. Understanding your clientele is the driving force of businesses in the industry; as AI continues to expand we’ll be able to understand more about ourselves and our consumers than ever before.
“Understanding your clientele is the driving force of businesses in the industry; as AI continues to expand we’ll be able to understand more about ourselves and our consumers than ever before.”
While AI and big data can provide a deeper understanding of people, it is also up to those utilizing these technologies to feed the relevant data into the appropriate AI-powered tools. In travel, the most widely used application of AI is personalization. For example, a hotel chain might need to know which of their customers are seeking handicapped-accesible hotels in order to provide a personalized offers to those guests. The applications of personalization in travel are far-reaching and much is left to be explored and implemented into business strategies by companies utilizing AI in travel.
THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL
The purpose of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in the travel industry is to make the experience as seamless as possible. What we cannot not see–en route to our next destination–is the massive amount of data being recorded, analyzed, and used for prediction. However we have just scratched the surface of AI, Big Data, and personalization. Given the travel industry is one of the most data-laden sectors, we have yet to see much of this data processed, analyzed, and ultimately applied to enhance the customer experience. Entities like airports are filled with endless data points flowing through their checkpoints and gates daily. They truly represent an optimal base for technological innovation.
Collectively, AI-powered travel technologies are set to become the inconspicuous travel guide and every step of a traveler’s journey will be impacted by it. We at Vindow, work behind the scenes to provide procurement software to hotels. Vindow is just one of many technology companies working together to simplify and enhance processes for our clients in the travel industry and there is so much more to come. But don’t get confused or misled, it won’t be robots and machines at check-in desks or passport control that will shape the passenger’s experience; for the most part we won’t even see the technology that is silently making our lives easier and travel more harmonious.