In our ever-changing, technology-driven world, it shouldn’t be surprising that the travel industry is moving toward robots to help streamline service.
And for those of you worried that allowing gadgets to run the show means an increase in poor customer service, the truth is actually quite the opposite — at least when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI).
Continue reading to learn four ways AI is changing travel for the better.
Despite advances in technology, the human element still plays an important part in hospitality. That’s where AI comes in, helping to improve person-to-person interactions.
Notes Jason Flaks, Senior Director of Product & Engineering, and Lead of the AI and Innovation Lab at Marchex, “By analyzing the high volume of customer calls travel companies receive with deep-learning algorithms, speech analytics enables agents to deliver smarter, more personalized care and service. They can now look at calls coming into their system and use this technology to get real-time insights on customer satisfaction indicators such as tone and sentiment, and then apply those insights to deliver a more optimal experience for customers.”
Now, not only does AI help hospitality representatives better understand the feelings of their guests and potential guests in the moment, but also with call center-based routing.
With AI, it becomes easier to understand what department is best to handle a call, and even up-sell based on customer interests detected in their tone.
What are ChatBots? Well, a “bot” is something that performs an automated task, while the “chat” part of the equation adds another important feature:
The ability to have a conversation with a human.
Now, the travel industry itself, while rewarding, can also be stressful. Issues like flight delays, cancelled reservations, and itinerary or even gate changes can add frustration to a trip, especially if you can’t get in touch with an agent over the phone. Chatbots help fix that problem, bringing immediate, personalized concierge service.
Here’s an example:
Global travel company Thomas Cook is utilizing Bold360 ai – an AI-powered intelligent customer engagement platform from LogMeIn.
Explains Ryan Lester, Director, Customer Engagement Technologies, LogMeIn, “They use a combination of intelligent self-service and agent-assisted tools to not only create a personalized experience for travelers in multiple markets, but the technology also helps the company understand the needs of their customers and optimize around that.”
The result? A 20% immediate reduction in contact center volume, as well as a 10% decrease in agent interaction time. They’re also seeing growth in terms of engagement, conversions and customer satisfaction.
Let’s continue talking about ChatBots and digital assistants.
Here’s the thing:
Even the best human concierge can only handle one task at a time. If you want to make a restaurant reservation, call a car, book a tour and have your thermostat settings changed, a human is going to need to complete these tasks in order, which can take up a good chunk of time. But not AI-powered tools.
Numerous hotels have adopted ChatBots and digital assistants to allow guests to do all this and more by simply using their voice. And it’s not just while you’re in the hotel; in fact, there are a number of tools that streamline the entire travel experience, including booking.
Take, for instance, Mezi, an AI-powered travel application that aggregates data from platforms like OpenTable, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Priceline and Expedia for tailored suggestions.
Moreover, SkyScanner incorporates bots via Facebook Messenger to notify fliers in real-time when there’s a flight price change, and helps your group create intricate itineraries.
These are just a few of many AI tools being used in this way, and undoubtedly there are many more to come.
Keeping track of your valuables while traveling has never been easier, thanks to AI.
Just take the Mu Tag, for example; a small AI-enhanced chip you affix to the things you care about, from cameras to wallets to journals and beyond.
Using “smart” notifications like Wi-Fi configuration, GPS location and user input, the chip gets to know you, including when it’s appropriate to notify you via a paired app that an item is too far from your person.
So, if you hop in a cab to the airport, but leave your passport behind, you’ll be notified; however, if you leave your luggage in your hotel room when you go out to sightsee, Mu Tag will know you meant to do that. Because Mu Tag syncs with your Google calendar, Google maps and Gmail, it can deliver a personalized experience, such as reminding you to bring a power converter, supplying a packing list or letting you know you’ll need an umbrella before a trip.
It’s just another example of how the possibilities with AI are truly limitless.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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