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Providing travel brands the perfect opportunity to connect with consumers and enhance customer service - we’ve seen a number of businesses experimenting with the artificial intelligence (or AI).
Customer service can make or break a hotel’s reputation. Consequently, AI’s ability to pre-empt and predict exactly what the customer needs and wants is one reason why hotels are cottoning on to the idea.
Hilton is one of the most well-known examples, last year teaming up with IBM’s Watson to create Connie – a robot that provides help and information to hotel guests during their stay.
Connie works by drawing on information from Wayblazer – a travel advice tool that also uses Watson – as well as human speech. Essentially, the more people talk to Connie, the more it will be able to interpret and analyse natural language.
According to a recent study by Travelzoo, two thirds of respondents would be comfortable with robots being used in the travel industry and 80% expect robots to play a part in many aspects of life by 2020.
Partnering with technology company, RicheyTX, Dorchester Collection has helped to develop an AI platform called Metis.
Delving into swathes of customer feedback such as surveys and reviews (which would take an inordinate amount of time to manually find and analyse) it is able to measure performance and instantly discover what really matters to guests.
Chatbot technology is another big strand of AI, and unsurprisingly, many travel brands have already launched their own versions in the past year or so.
Skyscanner is just one example, creating a bot to help consumers find flights in Facebook Messenger.
With the arrival of many more travel search websites, consumers are being overwhelmed by choice – not necessarily helped by it and a bot like Skyscanner is able to cut through the noise, connecting with consumers in their own time and in the social media spaces they most frequently visit.
So, we’ve already seen the travel industry capitalise on AI to a certain extent. But how will it evolve in the coming year?
Undoubtedly, we’ll see many more brands using AI for data analysis as well as launching their own chatbots.
Due to the greater need for structure and less of a desire for discovery, it certainly makes sense that artificial intelligence would be more suited to business travellers.
With voice-activated search, the experience of researching and booking travel has the potential to become quicker and easier than ever before. Similarly, as Amazon Echo and Google Home start to become commonplace, more hotels could start to experiment with speech recognition to ramp up customer service.
This means devices and bots could become the norm for brands in the travel industry.