Tour operators

Guest Post: Drive down costs but improve service with AI in the post-COVID world

Posted by Lee Hayhurst on
Guest Post: Drive down costs but improve service with AI in the post-COVID world

Niklas Schlappkohl, senior director, travel consulting at TransPerfect, explains how adoption of AI will help firms reduce costs and improve service in a post-COVID world

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become pervasive throughout all sectors and its applications are without limits. The travel industry is no exception.

And as companies in the sector are looking more and more to reduce costs in the post-COVID era while increasing their adaptability and time to market AI is being catapulted forward as the best solution for these needs.

While global pandemics such as COVID-19 are an exception, travel has always been impacted by current events which lead to heightened customer interaction periods.

Not only is it impossible to plan staffing for these periods, but why have employees perform repetitive tasks that can be performed by AI through chatbots much more easily and effectively?

On average, 80% of queries can be answered by chatbots instantly. For example, at KLM, re-booking bots helped resolve 10% of cases immediately.

Another application of AI in travel is for face-to-face customer service interactions.

Robots are already reducing queues at self-service check-in desks at some hotel chains, car rental offices, and many airports.

Once on location, smart speakers enhance the experience through quick and efficient assistance.

“Alexa, please renew my towels” or “Siri, which is the best restaurant within a 10-minute walk?” are only a couple of the questions your guests could ask without having to wait or increase the burden on your personnel.

By teaching the robots languages, as well as running user experience studies, they will be able to assist travellers with their most common needs seamlessly without human intervention.

Ever wonder what your customers are saying about you on review sites? Especially reviews in other languages?

You can leverage the power of user-generated content through sentiment classification, another AI application.

It´s a useful way to assess the quality of the services and other impressions, and helps pinpoint any issues or ways to determine where to renovate or invest.

Accurate sentiment annotation and classification of online reviews and social media posts is the first step toward building a reliable analytics solution.

Let an AI solution harvest ad annotate online content to generate meaningful analytics in any language, market, or travel category.

If you are an OTA or DMO you will have lots of queries and products but dream of a simple, intuitive search function.

Let AI search query classification classify large volumes of search queries based on product categories in any language.

The content can then be labelled by experts so that your visitors will be able to find exactly what they are looking for.

Last but not least, when travellers reach a new country, they may find themselves in a destination where they may not speak the language and the locals don´t speak theirs.

Worse yet, the travel supplier will need to deal with a plethora of languages from in-bound travellers.

Another modern AI technology is automatic voice translation which allows translations from and into up to 30 languages.

Imagine your check-in desk being able to interact with customers in over 200 languages.

All you need is a smart speaker or a similar device and a connection to a cloud translation service to make travel more accessible to all.

But, on final piece of advice, make sure you test your implementation with hundreds or thousands of users through experience studies.

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