Artificial Intelligence Implementation on Travel industry
Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Due to dramatic changes in the travel industry especially after COVID-19, organizations are increasingly in need of automation. At the same time, the availability and affordability of certain AI technologies for small to mid-sized companies is accelerating. Various opportunities for implementation are widely available for travel companies, and a McKinsey study shows that by 2030, companies that fully absorb AI could double their cash flow.
In the following two-part blog series, I will discuss some possible strategic implementations for the travel industry as well as demonstrate some use cases. Topics covered include:
• Natural language processing includes speech recognition
• Machine Learning including Deep Learning
• Sentiment Analysis
• Predictions (Lead Scoring) and Prescriptive
• Information Extraction and knowledge base
• Machine translations
• Robotics Process Automations
• Content Creation
• Curated Timelines and Advertising including Deepfakes
• Reduce spam and fake requests
Rather than replacing the travel agent’s position itself, I believe AI will be equipped to handle certain repetitive tasks, freeing the agent to make best use of their expertise and creativity.
While AI systems will do some of the repetitive clerical tasks, the creative and strategic decisions, as well as quality control should be done by human expert travel consultants. Travel planning can be an emotional endeavor, and while some travelers like to do it by themselves, many prefer high-touch human contact with personal advice by experts. In this way, AI systems and human agents will complement each other to generate smooth travel planning and trip management protocols.
Experienced system analysts should be on board to redefine these process and steps, as well as identify which levels machines/robots and where humans will be involved in finalizing these tasks.ew technology implementations. The human resources manager should be briefed and brought on board, after which she/he will contact and explain to employees how these systems will potentially affect their positions and how these employees can be promoted to other departments after training them with new skills.! ! mail, or live chat, but most of the time we need to ask multiple questions to understand potential customers’ requirements to build and present itineraries. Currently, customer acquisition and retention rates are relative to the talents and skills of Travel Consultants. .
As a result of AI implementation, we might replace some redundant clerical and administrative tasks with automation and smarter systems, while training and promoting travel agents to handle creative and strategic decisions, letting them concentrate on the human side of the business. The human agents will also serve as an important quality check and the last layer for the reliability of the entire process.
After these implementations, human agents and AI systems work together to increase productivity, as well as generate more skilled and high-paying positions such as AI trainers.
In this first part, I will brief an array of possibilities for implementation which could be applied to travel companies of different types. In Part 2, I will present Keytours Vacations’ AI Strategy and implementation, giving some insight into our experience and strategy as a tour operator in the personalized travel experience segment of business, and share a beta testing video.
Currently, most travel companies use conventional computing to do most of our daily tasks, including marketing, engaging potential customers, and presenting content, building and presenting various itinerary and service details. During trip operations, human agent involvement is vital to deliver smooth and reliable services.
Even with sophisticated marketing automation platforms, choices are limited. In our current capabilities we use A/B testing for emails and/or landing pages, but our segmentation and clients’ choices are more complex than two or more options. Most chatbots are limited in their understanding of language and speech recognition, and we need human agents to engage almost every chat. In another example, while we are preparing various trip proposals, we have collected input over the phone, email, or live chat, but most of the time we need to ask multiple questions to understand potential customers’ requirements to build and present itineraries. Currently, customer acquisition and retention rate are relative to the talents and skills of the Travel Consultants.
1. Natural language processing includes speech recognition: Using Cognitive Solutions, we could develop sophisticated and smooth customer engagement strategies; we will split into major topics (intents) and could integrate additional channels such as Webchat, Facebook messenger, Email, direct line speech, Skype, MS Teams , WhatsApp and adding IVR phone system.
2. Machine Learning including Deep Learning: Using existing customers’ booking patterns and their detailed profile information, AI systems will use deep learning techniques to come up with the most relevant popular destinations, itineraries, and service types. Travel companies’ AI systems will focus on individual travelers’ preferences, increasing the number of attributes of existing customers / travelers’ profile, and able to serve relevant trip ideas and specials on a timely basis!
3. Curated timelines and advertising including Deepfakes: After improving deep learning, travel companies can show their potential customers highly relevant content, specials at the right time. Going forward, online videos and photos will be replaced using Deepfake technology to show the individuals or characters that user wants to see.
4. Sentiment Analysis: Using NLP text extraction techniques, this system can understand customers’ sentiment about each conversation, or listen to phone conversations and get an idea about the caller’s feelings towards the company, a particular topic or the travel consultants’ conversations.
5. Predictions (Lead Scoring) and Prescriptive: Using lead scoring, we can predict which potential leads could turn into customers and engage them in a timely manner (possibly with live agents) by presenting the most relevant information. Using AI Prescriptive capabilities, we can provide recommendations on what human agents should do or improve the content of marketing / sales funnels.
6. Information Extraction: Using NLP, it is possible to extract information about travel companies on various communication and social media channels, triggering various alerts so that managers can engage and correct various issues on a timely basis before they escalate.
7. Machine translations: Engaging customers in their own language is a great competitive advantage and converting Chatbots to different language and answer users’ questions in their language can greatly increase engagement and customer satisfaction.
8. Robotics Process Automations: Various engagement tasks can be processed using Robotics Process Automations. For example, when potential leads engage, we can improve our customer nurturing techniques, or before or during travel, we can supply necessary information or alerts such flight delays etc. using RPA.
9. Content Creation: Improve content performance by expertly matching content to audience reading preferences and education level. This also saves time creating content, while maintaining consistent quality across all marketing assets.
10. Reduce spams and fake requests: Using AI systems, travel companies can eliminate unnecessary communication targeting our systems and filter only the ones relevant to our needs.
Who should be involved in implementing the proposed initiative, and what should the scope of their roles be?
Company management must understand and digest the benefits of these changes and implementations. After approval for funding, explaining the system to staff is a critical part of the success of new technology implementations. Human resources manager should be briefed and brought on board, after which she/he will contact and explain to employees how these systems will potentially affect their positions and how these employees can be promoted to other departments after training them with new skills.
Department managers should be involved in explaining the current process / flowchart and their requirements, and based on these final requirements, a document will be prepared.
These initiatives should be implemented for every travel company as a business strategy. The travel industry especially has a difficult time finding talented new travel agents, and an increasingly sophisticated clientele means every travel company must adapt with automation and cost-saving initiatives.
These initiatives should be implemented for every travel company as a business strategy. The travel industry especially has a difficult time finding talented new travel agents, and an increasingly sophisticated clientele means every travel company must adapt with automation and cost saving initiatives.
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