For the first half of 2022, it was hard to miss the countless news headlines about the travel and tourism industry. Increases in travelers, nightmares at airports, staffing shortages, and more seemed to be the topic on everyone’s mind. Especially as holiday travel approaches, many have raised concerns about how companies will manage these problems.
As the industry continues to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are looking for innovative solutions to help satisfy the demand from this influx of travelers. One way that companies have been achieving this is through investing in AI-powered solutions.
AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the ability of machines and computer systems to simulate human intelligence and interactions. AI-powered solutions have already helped numerous industries to increase efficiency and automate mundane tasks. They are incredibly versatile and are currently being used to revolutionize the traditional travel experience.
Many sectors of the travel and tourism industry use AI technology. From customer service chatbots to personalized travel recommendations, AI technology helps service providers create a better experience for travelers.
AI in Travel Reservations
Today, it would be hard to imagine planning a vacation without sites such as Hotels.com, Expedia, and Travelocity. These sites have undoubtedly made booking flights, accommodations, and activities more convenient and efficient. With the click of a button, travelers can easily view thousands of recommendations and book the options that best suit their tastes and budget.
While everyone is familiar with these companies’ services, many may not know that these sites rely on AI to improve the customer experience.
AI-powered chatbots help these sites provide real-time customer service and resolve problems within minutes. AI is also used to filter recommendations based on price, location, and even previous search history. It allows these sites to generate options tailored to you and your needs.
AI in Airports
You may have already used the AI-powered check-in kiosks and benefited from the AI software that automates bag-handling processes. However, this is just the beginning of AI-driven customer services at airports.
Airports have also been testing AI-powered robots that help travelers navigate airport facilities. At the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, AIRSTAR, the robot assistant developed by LG, helps to answer questions, give directions, and even take selfies. AIRSTAR has been well received and provides an exciting glimpse into the future of AI robotics in airports.
AI in Hotels
AI technology has allowed hotels to improve guest experiences. Some hotels have implemented AI concierges that help check in and out guests. Others, like the Hilton McLean, have experimented with AI robots to replace the traditional guest check-in experience. Connie, the robot concierge, provides guests with dinner recommendations, directions, and more. This technology is still experimental but shows how AI can make traditional hospitality processes more efficient.
AI is also helping hotels to be more environmentally conscious. AI software enables hotels to track their energy usage and identify cost and energy-saving opportunities.
AI in Travel Applications
AI-powered travel applications have recently been breaking into the market. These applications do things from providing real-time translations to finding the cheapest flight or accommodation prices.
One popular app is Hopper, which uses AI to predict the best times to book a flight or hotel. Another app is Una, a relatively new application that helps users to travel spontaneously. Using AI technologies, Una provides activity recommendations based on the user’s location.
AI in Consumer Data Analysis
Additionally, AI is helping companies to track consumer data and make business processes more efficient. In a competitive environment that relies on big data, AI allows companies to utilize millions of data points to make strategic business decisions.
One application of AI is to keep track of customer churn, the number of customers who do not become repeat customers. GiniMachine is an example of predictive AI software that lets hotels and hospitality businesses search for patterns that may explain the company’s customer churn rate.
Future Applications of AI in the Travel and Tourism Industry
In the future, it will not be surprising to see AI-powered robots handle all aspects of airport check-in at airports. AI technologies will streamline TSA processes and help bring an end to the dreaded airport security ordeal. At hotels, AI will check you in and help you to avoid long front desk lines. New apps will be developed using AI to help travelers on the go and will help customize the travel experience like never before.
Advancements in AI technologies will enable the travel and tourism industry to continue improving customer experiences. With more companies adopting AI through software and robotic services, it is clear that traveling will never be the same.
Noela is currently an undergraduate business administration and computer science student at Chapman University. She is fascinated by technology and wants to pursue a career in the business side of the tech industry once she graduates.