How AI is Transforming the Travel Industry

Table of Contents

Introduction

It’s no secret that technology has become a part of industries and the travel sector is no exception. The emergence of technologies has greatly benefited businesses in a variety of ways from the day, from day-to-day operations to handling tasks. As a result sectors, like healthcare, education, entertainment, hotels, and aviation are eagerly embracing these trending technologies to their advantage.

Especially, the travel industry stands to gain immense and extensive benefits from the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), reshaping the very essence of how people experience their journeys. Remarkably, an IndustryArc report anticipates that the travel AI market is poised to surpass $1.2 billion by 2026.

Let’s explore how artificial intelligence is utilized in the travel and tourism industry.

Understanding Artificial Intelligence

The concept of AI is often discussed but can be slightly more difficult to define. In essence, it encompasses the notion of computers or machines executing tasks that typically demand human intelligence, such as acquiring knowledge, rendering judgments, or discerning and comprehending spoken language.

Artificial intelligence has been around, for years. It’s only recently that computers and other machines have become advanced and reliable enough to handle complex tasks without much human intervention. The idea is closely linked to automation, where processes are carried out with involvement.

In today’s world, it’s widely accepted that businesses gather and store amounts of data. This data serves as a foundation for AI enabling machines to carry out a range of tasks such as data analysis, problem solving, speech translation, direct messaging, and enhancing personalization throughout the customer journey.

The Role of AI in the Travel Industry

The ability of intelligence to perform tasks that were traditionally done by humans has proven beneficial for the travel industry. By implementing AI technology businesses can save time and money while reducing the chance of errors. Moreover, these tasks can be accomplished quickly at any time of the day.

Customer service plays a role in building the reputation of hotels and resorts. Artificial intelligence can assist in ways in this regard. For instance, it can enhance personalization efforts by tailoring recommendations and ensuring responses, without staff members present.

Artificial intelligence has made progress to the extent that it is now commonly employed to aid and engage with customers gaining insights, from each interaction and enhancing interactions. Furthermore, AI can be of value to hotel owners as it can support them with activities such, as data analysis, calculations, and problem-solving.

Moreover, let’s explore how AI is harnessed within the travel and tourism sector.

AI use cases in the travel industry

The ever-evolving nature of artificial intelligence continually reshapes its role. Let’s explore how the entire industry stands to undergo profound transformation through the integration of these groundbreaking technologies.

1. Chatbots

AI’s integration into the travel and hospitality sector has revolutionized the landscape. Travel agencies and hotels that incorporate chatbots as a vital component of their AI strategy are poised to elevate their profits and enhance the customer experience. In the hospitality realm, AI chatbots have ushered in a significant transformation in how booking searches are handled, potentially replacing traditional hotel receptionists for managing booking inquiries.

Travel chatbots play a crucial role in assisting travelers by furnishing them with pertinent information about their intended destinations, weather conditions, room or flight reservations, and even car rentals. This potential significantly streamlines the booking process and enhances convenience for travelers. Surveys indicate that approximately two-thirds of respondents find AI chatbots highly valuable when arranging their travel plans. To ensure prompt responses and efficient customer interaction, some travel companies have introduced AI-driven chatbots on their Facebook pages and messaging platforms.

Examples –

  • Edwardian Hotels has effectively introduced an AI-powered virtual concierge named Edward. This innovative application is designed to communicate through text messages, offering guests personalized information and assistance. It possesses the capability to address numerous queries related to nearby restaurants, bars, railway stations, local attractions, and more.
  • The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas has embraced AI technology with its chatbot named Rose. Rose is specifically designed to enhance the guest experience while bolstering the hotel’s brand recognition. What sets this automation system apart is its capacity to establish an emotional connection with visitors, who are charmed by its playful personality. Rose can also provide recommendations for booking restaurant tables, spa visits, or spontaneous trips.
  • Prominent travel reservation companies like Booking and Skyscanner have seamlessly integrated travel chatbots into their systems. Users can activate the Skyscanner bot on social networks, input their travel dates, and receive information on the most affordable flights to their desired destinations. Furthermore, this chatbot sends notifications about flight discounts.
2. Voice-Assistant

AI-driven voice recognition technologies have paved the way for an innovative paradigm in the digitalized hospitality industry. Consequently, numerous global hospitality companies are adopting voice assistants, offering significant advantages to both guests and hotels. These solutions fall under the category of speech recognition software that can be seamlessly integrated into computers, laptops, smartphones, or tablets.

As integral components of a hotel’s IoT ecosystem, voice-controlled digital devices are typically linked to various hotel amenities. These assistants provide guests with a range of benefits, including rapid requests at the reception desk, automated room management, internet connectivity, localized weather forecasts, and hands-free calling. Furthermore, visitors can also oversee the room’s physical environment, encompassing lighting, temperature, and television settings.

Hotel proprietors view voice-activated devices as highly advantageous, as they help reduce labor costs while ensuring uninterrupted, impeccable service. Thanks to such solutions, the staff remains constantly informed about guest requests, enabling them to respond promptly or alert the relevant department via text.

Example –

  • Aloft Hotels and Wynn Resorts Las Vegas were the trailblazers in introducing voice assistants to the hospitality industry. They incorporated Apple Siri and Amazon’s Echo speakers into their establishments. Inspired by their success, numerous other hotels, such as Charlotte Marriott City Center, Wilkinson’s Resort, and Clarion Hotel Amaranten, subsequently followed suit by integrating voice devices into their services.
3. Facial Recognition

AI plays a significant role in the travel and tourism sector, primarily through the implementation of facial recognition technologies designed to identify individuals based on their facial characteristics. This biometric solution operates within the bounds of safety regulations and legal standards, swiftly recognizing individuals within seconds by comparing their facial features such as lips, eyes, ears, and chin with those stored in a database.

Facial recognition software has found widespread use in various facets of the tourism industry, including airports, train stations, hotels, and restaurants. In these travel sectors, these authentication technologies offer expedited access to travel amenities while also ensuring a high level of security for both the staff and travelers.

A recent survey indicates that 64% of Americans are in favor of the adoption of AI-driven recognition methods at airports. Through the integration of biometrics, airports have significantly reduced check-in times, sparing travelers from lengthy queues and ensuring a more efficient process.

Example –

  • Evaluating a facial screening technique deployed by the Transportation Security Administration in select American airports has demonstrated the effectiveness of this solution for automated identity verification at security checkpoints. Noteworthy airlines actively utilizing AI-driven facial recognition include JetBlue Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, and Adria Airways.
  • The implementation of robust facial recognition practices equips restaurants and hotels with the capability to tailor their services, recognizing patrons from their database and offering personalized greetings and customer-centric amenities.
  • AI-empowered facial recognition systems ascertain customer preferences based on their past visits. Additionally, this technology bolsters security measures, making it nearly impossible for unauthorized individuals, including potential fraudsters, to gain access to hotel rooms or other hospitality facilities.
4. Robot Technologies

Travel agencies, hotels, airports, and various tourism-related enterprises greatly value the level of self-service facilitated by virtual assistants and robots. Recently, the hospitality industry has extensively incorporated robotic technologies to expedite check-in processes, maintain extensive client information, and perform tasks that surpass human capabilities.

Robots elevate the overall guest experience in distinct ways. For example, they can welcome tourists, escort them to their accommodations, offer recommendations for leisure activities, and more. In terms of communication, AI-driven virtual assistants and robots have proven invaluable to international travelers by incorporating translation software, enabling guests to communicate in their native language. These operational capabilities of robots underscore the profound utility of AI in the field of tourism.

The surge in robotic staff can be attributed to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated the implementation of contactless services wherever feasible. Consequently, disinfection robots were deployed at prominent tourism hubs such as airports, hotels, bus, and train stations. This trend played a pivotal role in delivering hygienic and secure services while maintaining accessibility. The day-to-day tasks performed by these hospitality robots encompass a wide range, from cleaning and luggage transportation to in-room dining service.

Example –

  • The tourism industry presents a captivating illustration of robot integration, as demonstrated by Japan’s Henn-na Hotel. At this unique establishment, guests are welcomed by a robotic woman and a dinosaur companion at the reception desk, while a robot porter takes care of luggage transport. Surprisingly, traditional room keys are replaced by facial recognition software for room access.
  • The Hilton Hotel Group has embraced AI-driven technology in the form of Connie, a concierge developed in collaboration with IBM. Connie, a conversational robot, engages with guests and responds to their needs using advanced speech recognition tools. This adoption of robotic applications within the tourism sector underscores the industry’s ongoing shift towards automation. As a result, robots are poised to become an integral fixture in hotel amenities in the foreseeable future.
5. Personalization

Tourist recommendation systems exemplify the effective utilization of machine learning within the travel industry. These systems find widespread adoption across various tourism facilities, aiming to elevate decision-making processes, drive outcome-oriented optimizations, and streamline scheduling procedures.

In a study carried out by Sabre, it was revealed that a significant majority, approximately 75% of individuals, express a preference for personalization within contemporary travel enterprises. The integration of digital personalization into airlines, hotels, and restaurants empowers them to provide customized services that align with the unique preferences of their customers.

Examples –

  • Personalized recommendations are tailored to users based on their interactions with travel-related websites. For example, if someone is browsing Skyscanner for a suitable flight from Boston to Washington, they may also receive suggestions for hotels to consider during their visit.
  • Another illustration of the recommendation engine’s functionality can be found on Booking.com, which offers comprehensive information about hotels of interest. User search queries on the website can reveal their travel preferences. For instance, if a user is inquiring about nearby restaurants, bars, museums, or cinemas in proximity to a hotel, it indicates they are a leisure traveler, not a business traveler.
  • Consequently, further personalized recommendations can be provided based on these insights. In addition to using data from user interactions on their websites, hospitality businesses can leverage geolocation and social media data to offer customers tailored offers and experiences.
6. Profound sentiment analysis

Feedback provided by individuals across various travel review platforms, professional travel blogs, and social media platforms holds significant value for travel agencies, hoteliers, restaurant owners, and tourists.

These reviews are contributed by individuals who have personally visited specific destinations and are willingly sharing their firsthand experiences. This online information is considered reliable and impartial, often accompanied by relevant photographs taken during their journeys.

The comments expressed in text format are subjected to sentiment analysis, leveraging Machine Learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing technologies to dissect individuals’ sentiments and viewpoints regarding various tourism services and products. Businesses within the travel industry that harness such analytical tools can convert this acquired data into a competitive edge.

Example –

  • Travel reviews serve as invaluable resources for business owners to understand their preferences and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their services. Travelers can effectively leverage insights from platforms such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Lonely Planet to make well-informed decisions when preparing for and embarking on their journeys.
  • In the realm of the tourism industry, the utilization of Sentiment Analysis Tools like Qualaroo, HubSpot Service Hub, MonkeyLearn, and various others can offer substantial advantages to travel-related companies.
7. AI baggage handling solution

Automated baggage handling systems in airports exemplify the successful application of AI within the travel industry. These systems handle a significant volume of luggage daily. Fortunately, digital innovations and enhancements have modernized the tracking and handling processes, ensuring a seamless experience for both airlines and their passengers through dependable baggage services.

Contemporary AI tools employ photo recognition to trace travelers’ luggage, enabling them to predict the number of bags an individual might have based on their previous travel history. These systems involve the storage of scanned suitcase images within a database.

By utilizing essential baggage parameters and unique characteristics, it becomes possible to associate luggage with a specific passenger not just for one trip but for subsequent journeys when the passenger uses their baggage. Airports and travelers alike can also reap the benefits of specialized airline applications designed to locate lost luggage or track it while it’s in transit.

Example – 

  • AI-driven technology for baggage handling underwent its inaugural trials at Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands. During this experiment, BagsID asserted that the efficiency and reliability of AI-based luggage check-in solutions were demonstrated successfully. The pilot project is slated to extend until 2023 to facilitate further comprehensive testing.
  • This innovative technology employed a cutting-edge check-in procedure that eliminated the need for traditional luggage labels, aligning with the airports’ eco-friendly policies. Travelers simply need to capture a photo of their baggage and subsequently upload it. It’s important to note that passengers can only avail themselves of the AI-powered luggage handling system if the destination airport also employs the same technology.
8. Flight Forecasting

AI-driven techniques were employed to create state-of-the-art travel applications that empower us to predict flight schedules and various aspects of travel, such as accommodations. These pioneering solutions cater to the needs of travelers by assisting them in discovering the most budget-friendly options and offering insights into forthcoming flight expenses.

Example –

  • The Hopper application, launched in 2015, has emerged as the fastest-growing platform for flight bookings, thanks to its meticulous implementation of top-tier AI practices.
  • Within its framework, Hopper employs advanced machine learning algorithms to deliver users the most favorable deals and predict the optimal timing for booking flights and reserving hotels. The foundation of Hopper’s capabilities lies in an AI-driven prediction engine that can forecast prices up to a year in advance, ensuring an impressive 95% accuracy rate.
  • One of Hopper’s standout features is its ability to provide personalized recommendations to users on whether they should book a flight immediately or wait for a potential price drop. The application tailors its offerings by analyzing vast databases of flight prices to suggest the right travel dates for each customer.
  • Hopper’s application leverages push notifications to inform users about the most opportune moments to purchase their desired flights. Beyond this functionality, this AI-powered application also possesses insights into a user’s travel preferences, aiding them in discovering new destinations and experiences.

Conclusion

When it comes to artificial intelligence and its impact on the global travel industry, I can endlessly discuss the transformative influence it wields. With the constant integration of disruptive technologies, it appears that every industry’s future is promising and irreversible. This isn’t a fleeting trend anymore; it’s an extraordinary revolution that shows no signs of slowing down. It’s only the inception of what lies ahead.

If you’ve come across the post titled “Justifying its title,” please share it with your peers to shed light on the impact of disruptive technologies and how they’re transforming various industries. You can read more technical blogs here – BLOGS.

Share this blog

What do you think?

Contact Us Today for
Inquiries & Assistance

We are happy to answer your queries, propose solution to your technology requirements & help your organization navigate its next.
Your benefits:
What happens next?
1
We’ll promptly review your inquiry and respond
2
Our team will guide you through solutions
3

We will share you the proposal & kick off post your approval

Schedule a Free Consultation

Related articles