Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a distinctive addition to many businesses as technology has continued to advance. With the growing need for customer care in the travel industry, will we be seeing an AI travel planner or AI travel assistant solving the problems of millions of travellers around the world? Maybe not anytime soon. However, when it comes to the application of AI in travel and transport, it is already widespread in many circumstances.
What exactly is AI? Technology that can complete cognitive processes on its own, free from human input, manipulation, or control, is referred to as artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence technology is capable of a wide range of functions, including decision-making, language translation, and interaction with device users.
This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of adopting AI vs human travel agents.
will AI travel planners Replace Humans?
There’s no denying that emerging technologies have altered how people travel. To boost client engagement and the quality of services, many travel companies have now chosen to provide interactive services to their clients. Here are some key stats on how pervasive technology is in the travel sector:
- 75% of travellers plan their vacations online according to a study by Google Travel
- Over 45% of consumers use smartphones to plan their holidays according to TripAdvisor
- More than 36% of users are willing to spend more if there is a simple and interactive booking procedure in place
- About 80% of customers prefer self-service to find the information they need
More and more people are using AI-powered travel apps, but are these tools superior to human travel agents? Let’s take a look.
cURRENT APPLICATION OF AI IN TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
1. Personalised travel planning
Market research shows that 30% of travellers use their mobile phones or other devices to plan their upcoming trips. Additionally, 50% of visitors claim that they do not require a guide for their travels because sophisticated travel apps would assist them at every step of the way.
An AI travel planner software can create any trip you want, whether romantic or adventurous. Numerous travel companies are investing in AI to provide their customers with specialised services to suit their preferences.
AI enables travel agencies to provide better service, which draws in more customers. Customers can use AI travel planner apps to discover new locations to visit, new experiences to participate in, and more.
2. Chatbots for online customer service
Giving online support to customers is one of the most prevalent examples of the application of AI in travel and transport, hotels and other tourism-related businesses. Chatbots have already gained widespread appeal, particularly on social networking platforms and messaging apps.
Applied in this manner, it becomes a sort of AI travel assistant, helping consumers by responding to questions and providing useful information even when a customer care agent is not available.
Customers are requesting ever-faster reaction times on online platforms, and this acting AI travel assistant empowers businesses to meet these demands in ways that humans alone could not.
3. Analysis and processing of data
It’s also important to understand that the application of AI in travel and transport goes beyond customer service. One of its most common and effective uses is gathering and analysing data to draw conclusions about clients, company operations, and pricing strategies.
The key advantage of AI in this field is its ability to quickly and accurately sort through massive amounts of data, as opposed to humans who would take a longer period of time while being prone to errors along the way.
4. Price optimisation
You may have observed that rates for flights and accommodations increase after a certain number of searches. This is one of the prime examples of the application of AI in travel and transport, using dynamic pricing technology to display the most effective prices in real time.
The system automatically recognises pricing methods based on the characteristics of each consumer, including the best time to fly and the best time to purchase tickets. Using AI, customers now have the chance to keep tabs on offers and obtain comparative pricing information to determine when to book a trip.
5. Online brand management
Online reviews may be crucial for a brand’s reputation as they are a reliable source of information for many customers when making travel plans. As a result, it’s critical to monitor what consumers say about your company because any unfavourable comments online can damage your reputation.
Thanks to AI, travel agencies can now effortlessly track client feedback, social media comments, and other company-related remarks. To maintain a positive online presence and brand reputation, AI can immediately address unfavourable customer feedback, analyse online guest evaluations, and ultimately improve travellers’ experiences.
IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ON THE TOURISM INDUSTRY
1. Cost and ROI
For small and medium-sized tour operators, an AI travel planner might be prohibitively expensive in terms of hardware, software, and training. Nevertheless, there are some doable solutions to overcome this obstacle. For instance, travel agencies can begin with small-scale AI solutions to demonstrate the ROI before progressively expanding their operations.
Tour operators can also consider collaborating with AI solution providers or tech companies that provide shared infrastructure and flexible pricing structures to cut down on upfront expenditures.
2. Integration with current systems
Experts in the travel sector are still trying to pinpoint precisely what travellers want and need from artificial intelligence. The reality is, tour and activity providers must use specific artificial intelligence to improve the consumer experience with their brand.
Experts are still determining what works and what doesn’t at this point.
3. Data quality
Any AI travel planner will require large amounts of precise and pertinent data to train on and produce insights. This groundwork takes up much time and resources, and tour operators could have trouble compiling and arranging data from diverse sources.
Poor data quality can have an impact on how accurate AI-generated insights are, which can result in poor judgements and missed opportunities. Hence, tour operators must implement strong data governance practices, such as data standardisation, cleansing, and quality checks, to address this issue and guarantee the accuracy and dependability of the data collected.
4. Privacy and ethics
Privacy and ethics are one of the major barriers when it comes to assessing the impact of artificial intelligence in the tourism industry. Concerns with data privacy, security, and ethical implications are developing as AI technology becomes more widely used.
AI systems need access to vast volumes of personal data, including user preferences, behaviours, and location, to produce insights and suggestions. This would require tour operators to set explicit rules on data collecting, storage, and use in order to comply with national and international privacy laws like the GDPR or CCPA.
5. Adoption and resistance
Artificial intelligence is still somewhat young. The standards currently in use still have certain problems that need to be worked out, and leaders in the travel industry are still learning the best ways to apply this technology.
It should be noted that as artificial intelligence develops and matures, significant changes will affect tour and activity providers’ businesses. Thus, researching artificial intelligence technology is crucial in order to comprehend the direct benefits it will bring to the tour and activity business.
ROBOTS WILL NOT REPLACE HUMAN TRAVEL AGENTS… YET
Despite these benefits and technological improvements, a full-fledged AI travel planner or AI travel assistant could still not replace human travel agents. The human factor is still essential, after all, in areas such as:
1. Customised service
The capacity of travel agents to offer individualised service is one of the fundamental factors contributing to their continued relevance.
It is challenging for an AI travel assistant to mimic the personalised recommendations and guidance that travel agents can provide depending on their client’s preferences—much less collaborating with customers to design personalised itineraries that guarantee a fun and memorable trip.
2. Intricate travel arrangements
While an AI travel planner is capable of handling straightforward inquiries and bookings, it might not be able to manage more intricate requirements. An AI-powered system can struggle to make the appropriate preparations, for instance, if a traveller needs to visit various locations and schedule numerous flights, hotels, and ground transportation, many of which are subject to human factors.
On the other hand, these complications have become common for human travel agents, who have experience handling ad hoc problems and ensuring everything goes according to plan.
3. Human contact
An AI travel assistant may be able to automate much of the booking process, but it can’t replicate the personalised service that travel agents can offer.
Many travellers choose to work with a travel agency because they can establish a personal connection with them and get knowledgeable guidance and support. This level of empathy and comprehension provided by human travel agents is something AI cannot match.
4. Unexpected circumstances
Unexpected circumstances can happen when travelling. For instance, a flight could be cancelled, or a traveller could get sick while on the trip.
In these situations, an experienced travel agent can provide rapid help and guidance, whereas an AI travel assistant might still lack sufficient data in its training to be able to respond appropriately.
PLAN YOUR NEXT TRIP WITH OUR TRAVEL EXPERTS
At Holiday Tours, we utilise both AI-powered tools and human travel agents, to bring you the best of both worlds every step of the way during your trip.
for intelligent TRAVEL MANAGEMENT,
REACH OUT TO US AT +603 2303 9100 OR
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