Apr 12
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We answer key questions concerning the industry

Phocuswright’s article on “2019 Travel Innovation and Technology Trends” has concerns on how the Industry is engaging with travelers, with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

We’d like to address those concerns.


For the last three years, AI has been a common theme for companies that participate in the Phocuswright Innovation Platform. Every travel segment, from airlines and hospitality to corporate travel, has touted AI as the path to driving a more personalized travel experience. But the real activity is often happening behind the scenes, where AI reduces redundancy and inefficiencies without the traveler’s awareness. But the hype continues. Probably chief among the hype is the idea of personalization. The concept of 1:1 marketing has been around for decades, and many believe AI is the enabler of this more personalized future. There is no doubt that collecting implicit preferences via AI analysis brings us closer to the 1:1 world. But due to the infrequency of leisure travel and the various personas of business travel, this is not an easy task, regardless of advances in machine learning.


What are the true AI innovations that are working in our industry today?
~Our platforms provide OTAs and hotels with insights, personalization and predictions Travel recommendation(TRECS mainly) using AI, and collected historical data(RI).
~With the constant evolution in the English language, our Natural Language Processing (NLP) must constantly be updated and will have to keep growing.
~Our ML should learn contextually which keyword is linked to which department.
~Personalization has been a challenge to execute, but with AI platforms and tools we’re enabling the travel and hospitality industry to realize that process.

Will AI eliminate travel industry jobs?
~It’s not AI’s job to eliminate jobs but, with changing times jobs too will change.
~The idea that an AI is more cost effective than having a staff in most scenarios, most jobs will be offloaded to AI driven solutions.
~The outlook has mixed sentiments – with AI potentially replacing jobs and yet, enabling growth in businesses exponentially.
~It applies to all smart technologies and is a result of growth.
~AI is not just automation, it’s about continuously learning and capturing the sentiments and user behavior. The complexity of human behavior is not conducive for AI to take over some core functions of our industry.

How can AI help humans become more efficient and knowledgeable?
~In mind with BIG data that the industry has to process in order to get insights on how we could improve, it is not possible for us to process the data at a fast enough pace without leveraging AI and NLP to keep up with data processing demand.
~It’s the application of knowledge that will come to the forefront more than the collection of knowledge.
AI is helping us apply that knowledge in a more powerful way.

Are we there yet, or are we heading for the Trough of Disillusionment?
~Currently we’re working on a pro-active approach to personalization, instead of a reactive approach as was done before for review intelligence. We now seek insights on consumer behavior before the experience and not after it, in the form of reviews.
~AI is an always evolving process. The industry acknowledges that there is a great potential of what we can achieve by leveraging AI.
~Unlike other buzzwords this is a continuous evolution and a journey that we are happy to set upon.

 What sectors have the greatest promise for AI?
~Any sector where the selling process is consultative has a strong future with AI.
~Retail travel seems to have great promise for AI as it involves the requirement to judge persona, sentiment and other consumer requirements.