Is AI changing the travel industry?
Technology advancements have assisted the travel industry by making reservations, operations, and guest communication more efficient and automated. But how has some of this automation impacted the travel industry? We decided to look at how Artificial Intelligence (AI), or machine learning, has changed or will change our industry.
Most of us don’t think about how much the Internet knows about us on a daily basis but when you start seeing “recommended products” on Amazon or seeing very specific ads on Facebook or even the “what to watch next” on Netflix, you’ll understand just how much these services are learning about you and what you like. A bit creepy, sure, but the backbone to it is to make sure your experience is the best it can be and that these services are giving you what you want before you know to ask for it.
In fact, a lot of Google products are built with that specific idea in mind. Google Now, the personal assistant, is designed that way and you can even see it in the search feature where Google tries to finish your keyword or phrase before you do with recommended searches. And though Alexa and Google Home are relatively new, we expect to see personal home assistants become as regular as TVs in people’s homes. These home assistants are also improving AI functions as they rely on voice commands understanding conversational context.
With recommendations, you can stay ahead of the curve by making your own recommendations to your guests through blogs, social, or email communications of things they may already be interested in or would probably be interested based on things they’ve looked at in the past. You could also rely on technology to help you out with drip campaigns that send different emails based on the actions the email recipient makes.
Customer service has always been an important part of doing business but with advancements in AI and messaging services, chances are good that by now you’ve worked with a chatbot or AI platform without even knowing it! These chatbots are designed to streamline communications with pre-created messages that are based on keywords or phrases that the customer uses. Perhaps it’s easier to have a bot answer questions about business hours, shipping, or directing them to an FAQ page than having to pay someone to watch an inbox.
These chatbots or assistants aren’t going to go anywhere anytime soon and will most likely be programmed to be even more human-like in the coming years.
Interested in chatbots? Check out our blog: Why you should think about investing in a website chatbot!
As Property Management Software becomes better at its ability to understand historical data and predictions to set pricing, we’ll also see the addition of new data points to be even more granular with pricing. Your software will continue to learn and make connections to adjust the pricing as it needs to be without you having to do the actual math to ensure you’re getting the most of your room rates.
Hilton Worldwide has Connie the robot to help guests plan their day once they’re at the hotel with dining recommendations and information on tourist attractions and the Oakland Airport has Pepper to help travelers navigate the airport or answer frequently asked questions. Japan’s Henn-na Hotel even employs Yumeko, a humanoid robot, and an English-speaking velociraptor to greet and check in guests.
We’ve also seen robots at tradeshows that are programmed to deliver things like towels or toiletries to guest rooms. While it does eliminate some of that personal touch, robots are probably going to be heavily incorporated into the travel industry in the coming years to reduce staffing and streamline certain customer service issues.
Car manufacturers and ride share companies are very invested in self-driving cars. With this progression, you could see hotels having their own fleet of automated vehicles that can pick up guests from the airport or even act as rental cars during their stay.
Another car-related innovation is Uber’s Trip Branding features where you can allow guests to request rides through your app, like Hilton does, or even check-in to their room while they’re on their way.