How AI Is Changing Travel

How AI Is Changing Travel

The world of travel has changed a lot in the last couple of decades. It wasn’t too long ago when you had to go to the agency to book your trip and bring a paper map in your backpack.

Nowadays, you can arrange a trip in minutes and without any human interaction at all. In fact, over 80% of people in the U.S. complete their bookings online. Even if we know what we want from our trip only vaguely, smart algorithms can help us find the perfect offer.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world of travel for the better, and here’s how.

Travel Planning

AI is better at learning from our experience than we are. It can know what we want even before we’re aware that we want it. Various booking platforms that utilize this technology can give us successful recommendations based not only on our past behavior but also on the experiences of other users with similar preferences.

For example, if we book a hotel in Krakow via a trip-planning platform, it may recommend us sightseeing and entertainment options in the city. That’s AI learning from us. The platform may also suggest various offers for similar places in Europe, such as Prague. That’s AI’s recommendation based on what other places people who visited this city went to.

As you can see, once you set the machine in motion, you’ll get recommendation after recommendation. You won’t have to do almost any independent research.

Many travel companies offer personalized trip-planning services. They have you rate your preferences in various travel-related categories (accommodation, food, etc.), and they deliver customized suggestions.

Thanks to AI technology, planning a trip has never been faster and easier.

Customer Support

One aspect of travel planning where AI can come in especially handy is customer support. AI-powered chatbots are doing wonders helping customers online with booking services, cancelations, providing information, etc.

These bots are now so advanced that they can have near-natural conversations with travelers, understand their queries, and provide answers and solutions. Even though they may still not be fully able to deal with more complex issues, their advantage over human representatives is that they are a lot faster.

While a human rep would need to enter data, search for info, and perform other actions to assist the traveler, an AI chatbot can pull out information automatically and solve customer issues within seconds.

Another benefit of an AI bot is that it is available to customers 24/7, so there’s no more waiting for representatives to put customers through. Since most customer requests are simple changes in booking arrangements that bots can easily solve, that leaves live representatives time to deal with more complicated issues requiring human assistance.

The result of this arrangement is beneficial for both sides as the business is more productive and customers are happier with the service.

Hunting for Cheaper Prices

We all know that flight prices can vary wildly depending on numerous factors, such as the season, general demand, and seat availability. Figuring out the best time to book a flight is a prediction game where people will not always win. There sure is a pattern of drops and increases, but we can’t see it that easily.

However, there are apps, such as Hopper, that utilize the power of AI to gain these insights from massive amounts of data. They take all the varying factors into consideration and predict with striking accuracy when your desired flight will be cheapest.

If this technology can be applied to flights, it could also be used for other aspects of travel, such as predicting hotel availability and suggesting the least busy time to visit a place.

People in the travel industry are already great at predicting peak seasons, thanks to their extensive experience. However, AI technology combined with years and years of relevant data has the potential to predict anything with almost 100% accuracy.

Accuracy in Predicting Disruptions

Sometimes, flights are delayed or canceled so suddenly that they ruin all your plans for days. These disruptions usually happen due to external elements that are not in control of travel agencies and airlines. The most common villain in these situations is adverse weather.

AI can use all the available data on traffic patterns, weather forecasts, bird strikes, and any other potential disruptions and predict them well in advance. This accuracy in prediction while taking numerous factors into consideration can help airlines and travel agencies organize and plan alternatives in advance.

We have gotten quite great at measuring any phenomena and saving massive amounts of data on anything. In addition to that, we have AI technology that can sift through that data for valuable insights. As time goes by and more data is accumulated, AI will become even smarter and more accurate. Everyone involved in travel can benefit from this change, from tourism operators to travelers themselves.

Hotel AI Assistants

Travelers like to get the best possible deals on their trips, and comfort and price are just some of the things they tend to look into. You might be surprised to hear that some hotels are making their guests even more comfortable with the help of AI assistants. You can usually reach them via kiosks, smartphones, and online.

The trusted AI technology coupled with the Internet of Things (IoT) means you can ask your assistant to set the room temperature for you or adjust the lights before you arrive. The assistant can give you directions, news, and useful information, and it’s either text- or voice-enabled.

The potential of this technology in hotel management and improving guest experience is huge. Soon, travelers will have their own virtual butlers wherever they’re staying, and it’s an exciting prospect we’re all looking forward to.

The Future of AI in Travel Is Bright

Considering how fast technology changes, especially artificial intelligence, this is just the beginning for AI in the travel industry. The advantages of AI are clearly visible already, but in the future, this amazing technology will make travel much easier and more enjoyable.

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Written by Rebecca.B