For years, we’ve seen artificial intelligence (A.I.) slowly infiltrate industry after industry.
It appears that the travel niche is finally catching up, which is good news, both for the business-side and consumer-side of the industry. But what exactly is happening and what does the future hold for A.I. in this trillion-dollar sector?
Modernizing the travel experience
If you had the joy of planning a trip 15 or 20 years ago, then you know just how cumbersome the process was. You had to meet with a travel agent, check flights over the phone, or piece together less than reliable information online. There was no such thing as mobile check-in for flights. Furthermore, shopping around for the best deals on accommodations was entirely manual and customer service with large brands was anything but smooth.
Somehow, we survived (with business models that now seem entirely archaic) and reached a point where the travel industry is catching up with other industries in terms of modern technology -- and A.I. is leading the way.
While there will always be some fears regarding how A.I. will affect human jobs and person-to-person interactions, the reality is that we’ve come to a point where modernization is a must.
It may come at the expense of a couple of jobs, but millions of people will enjoy smoother travel on an annual basis. That’s a trade-off that hotels, airlines, and travel product brands are willing to accept.
Specific ways A.I. is making a splash
People want travel to be as easy and stress-free as possible. After all, who wants to get all worked up planning the details of what’s supposed to be a relaxing vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo? The process of travel is already stressful enough, which is why new A.I. technologies are aiming to alleviate classic pain points.
Here are some notable developments to keep an eye on:
Are you familiar with chatbots? You’ve probably interacted with one or two of them in the past. They’re frequently used online by companies who want to offer customers certain services but don’t have the manpower to do so. As a result, they use instant message application interfaces that are pre-programmed to mimic human conversation in a (fairly) natural way.
Over the past couple years, we’ve seen chatbots become a big focal point in the travel industry. There’s a ton of innovation happening in this space and the newest bots are smarter than ever before. Some even learn from past conversations and are able to detect nuances in human writing.
If you’re looking to travel smarter, then you’ll be delighted to know that smart technology is really taking off (get it?) in the travel industry. The goal is to make the actual act of traveling -- specifically air travel -- smoother and more comfortable through increased connectivity.
One specific example of smart technology in the travel industry is the Bluesmart luggage brand. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Bluesmart designs luggage that’s far more functional than traditional suitcases sold in department stores around the country. It has a number of advanced smart features that allow travelers to track their luggage’s location and be notified when they leave their bags behind. It also comes with USB ports capable of charging mobile devices.
It won’t be long before smart features like these are combined with A.I. systems to provide even more advanced traveling experiences -- experiences that are safer and simpler.
“Flight fares and hotel prices are ever-changing and vary greatly depending on the provider,” software company AltexSoft admits. “No one has time to track all those changes manually. Thus, smart tools which monitor and send out timely alerts with hot deals are currently in high demand in the travel industry.”
Dynamic pricing and fare forecasting tools are all the rage right now. People know there are better deals out there and want access to information that helps them save as much money as possible on flights, hotels, and other accommodations. Hopper is one of the leading startups in this area. They’ve raised more than $37 million to date and have built an advanced application that uses applied predictive analytics to tell users exactly when to pull the trigger on a travel deal.
Just the beginning
In ten years, the A.I. technology we have now will probably look like a joke. This isn’t a knock on today’s tools and processes, but rather a clear sign that we’re only in the beginning stages of an A.I. revolution that will fundamentally and systematically change the way we travel. It’s an exciting time to be alive!
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