It is the era of digital transformation, where Artificial Intelligence or AI is reaching new dimensions. Hailed as the ‘new electricity, AI, over the last few years has been making rounds in the tourism sector as, a sector which has always celebrated the milestones in technology. Traditional methods of quantitative analysis are being fast replaced by various types of AI such as genetic algorithms, rough sets, grey theory among others. Ranging from smarter virtual assistants and real time chat bots to personalized concierge services, travel websites/ hotels ‘learn’ how to use data to create a better experience.

What is the travel and tourism sector moving towards?

The tourism sector cannot ignore user generated content, peer to peer applications and virtual communities. Due to this, in today’s world, the consumers have access to an enormous amount of information at their fingertips. Recent surveys showed that consumers trusted websites with reviews more than professional guides and tourist agencies. Blogs are considered to be more credible and trustworthy than traditional marketing. Thus, there arises a need to locate, extract and interpret such ‘credible’ blogs and reviews.

Exploring and analyzing such large amounts of data to identify patterns, trends and behaviors allow the tourist agency to predict destinations or more importantly offer customized services. Opinion mining also uses machine learning, a type of AI algorithm to mine text for sentiments. Also known as ‘sentiment analysis’, the system collects and categorizes opinions about a product or a service. AI simplifies the work of the tourism industry professionals, enabling them to concentrate more on improving their profits and customer satisfaction.

AI Developments in the travel and tourism industry

Corporate IT Services and technology consultant Mindtree’s framework ‘Connected Traveller’ uses machine learning to understand the consumer behavior and trends from their travel data. The hotels profit from a better knowledge of consumers through the personal data provided by reservation technology. Machine learning can enable the hotel to offer hyper personalized services.

At Madrid’s Fitur tourism fair, where some of the newest developments were presented, prototype of one hotel showed that tailor made experiences could be offered when customers check in through a mirror equipped with facial recognition. Further, the guests are treated to rooms that complement their habits and desires. Everything in the smart hotel rooms will adjust to the client’s specific needs, including the display of art. All data will be recorded to understand the client’s habits and preferences so that they can enjoy a more customized  experience.

Georgia recently launched a tourism campaign- ‘Emotions are Georgia’, where AI was used to detect genuine tourist emotions from over 70,00,000 posts of travellers to create an ‘emotional’ and accurate guidebook of the country. Giorgi Chogovadze, Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration, believes that these posts are “straightforward, heartfelt and uncensored reviews written by regular tourists who have actually visited the country.”

French technology consultancy Altran developed a prototype aimed at luxury hotels, where ‘smart’ doors are opened and closed through  Whatsapp. The guests can order a pizza in 40 languages through speech recognition technology and the mattress is equipped with sensors that allow the hotel to serve coffee at the right time.

The hotel chain Palladium has replaced paper brochures with virtual reality headsets.

From all these examples, we find that customization is given the utmost preference, as machine learning allows the travel agencies, hotels and attractions to match the desires, habits and preferences of the tourists with the offered services or products. Hence a personalized menu, preferred room temperature, lighting and other services offered helps increase customer satisfaction immensely.

Where is AI taking the travel and tourism industry?

Artificial Intelligence is creating dramatic technological changes, which will also revolutionize the way people travel. Artificial intelligence is already helping major players in the tourism industry in decision making, managing predictive maintenance and handling disruptions like weather conditions. The number of travel agencies and hotels using AI will increase tenfold in the future, just like the present increase in the number of consumers using virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, making them household names. Embracing Artificial Intelligence will benefit travellers as well as tour operators, aviation sector and even hospitality. With the advanced progress that technology is making, radical transformation is all set to happen in the way people live and travel.

This blog was written by our Content Writing Intern – Rona Sara George. Click on the name to view her LinkedIn profile.

Author: Xaltius (Rona Sara George)

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