The traveling experience can be summed up in a single word – stressful. Long lines, delays, and your pick from a plethora of unexpected setbacks leave travelers exhausted, upset, and defeated on the daily. There is a long-standing and clear agreement among consumers that travel in its entirety can be improved and thankfully, we may be headed in the right direction.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly made its way into the mainstream, and specialized AI models are being regularly adopted by businesses across all verticals, including travel. According to a report by Accenture that surveyed travel industry experts, 85 percent believe that AI will significantly impact the industry and 42 percent plan to invest in and adopt some form of AI.
One type of AI that has recently been generating turbulence is generative AI. Rather than simply making predictions like the AI models we are accustomed to, the purpose of generative AI is to create new data. It accomplishes this by learning the patterns and relationships between elements from existing data, such as images, audio, or text, to generate a similar, yet not identical, output. This makes generative AI ideal for automation, efficiency, and personalization.
Here’s how generative AI can bring those qualities, and more, to the travel industry.
Cater to the individual
As we know, no two people are identical. From varying personalities to preferences, any given individual may have a different approach to keep happy and the existing cookie-cutter system isn’t doing the trick.
Generative AI can provide a level of personalization that keeps even the most tough-to-please customer flying high. By analyzing data from past travel experiences such as preferences and behavior, generative AI can cut through the noise to develop unique recommendations for travelers.
Do you prefer the aisle seat in the back of the plane on a red-eye flight? Or maybe you like flying midday with only a carry-on. No matter the preference, generative AI will be able to suggest the ideal travel plan so the customer has less work to do. Each stage of the travel process is tailored to fit the individual, streamlining the experience from the purchase of the ticket to baggage claim.
Automate routine tasks
Some of the most time-consuming and agonizing aspects of travel are also the most routine tasks – check-in, baggage claim, and security screening. By integrating generative AI to automate these processes, we can improve efficiency and minimize travelers’ gray hairs.
Potential applications of generative AI include utilizing facial recognition technology to identify travelers before they arrive at the security checkpoint to speed up the check-in and screening processes, analyzing data patterns to predict bag check-in and baggage claim demand, and automating baggage handling with sensors to track luggage throughout the journey to minimize lost or delayed baggage.
Ultimately, automating these tasks frees up resources and allows staff to focus on driving customer satisfaction.
Pricing in the travel industry is traditionally based on fixed rates and seasonal fluctuations influenced by peak travel times, demand, and inventory. The introduction of generative AI allows businesses to accommodate a wider range of factors such as customer behavior, preferences, and market pricing, and ultimately generate a more advanced and competitive pricing model.
By analyzing a larger dataset in real time, travel organizations can predict the optimal price for a given service rather than charge a fixed rate based on historical data. This allows businesses to maximize their revenue while still providing the best possible rate to customers. Meaning – no more paying a premium on a Wednesday afternoon simply because it’s July.
Analyze customer sentiment
Finally, generative AI can be critical in analyzing customer sentiment. Customer reviews, social media posts, and other feedback are all strong indicators of where a business needs to improve, but it would be tedious and time-consuming to filter through it all manually. Generative AI has the capability to assess and evaluate those resources and turn them into actionable items to improve the overall customer experience.
Overall, integrating generative AI into the travel industry has the potential to solve multiple pain points and improve the experience of travelers across the globe. Of course, the human element will likely never be fully replaced as an industry that relies on service and hospitality will benefit from the human touch. But by turning to technology to automate outdated and tedious manual tasks, airports and airlines may just be able to make the lives of travelers just a bit less stressful.
Valentino Danchev is a successful businessman in the resort industry. He is the CEO of Fidelis Marketing Group and founder of The Chilpayate Foundation, a non-profit organization aiding children and their communities, and author of “My Gift to The World” discussing inventions and ideas to eradicate poverty, disease, death and energy crisis.
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