Guest Post: Exactly how is AI going to change travel?

Guest Post: Exactly how is AI going to change travel?

Saleem Sharif, co-founder and CEO of Sarorasoft, elaborates further on this much-discussed topic

Let’s start with a big number. According to a recent report by McKinsey,  Generative AI, the tech that creates new content - audio, code, images, text and so on, is set to unlock around $4 trillion of incremental revenue for travel businesses. Now that is a big number. So it’s no surprise that a lot of money is being invested in AI.

Historically, the travel industry has always been at the forefront of technical innovation, and AI is no exception. 

Travel businesses continuously look for more efficient ways to improve their operations and accounting processes or manage data. Automation has allowed this to happen. Freeing up the workforce to focus on more important things while finishing pending tasks in less time.  Very few businesses are failing to  embrace AI in some way and most are actively experimenting with advanced tech. Airlines, hotels, cruise lines and more are all finding ways to adopt the technology.  So, whether you like it or not, AI will pave the way to a futuristic business world.

But what is that likely to look like and exactly how is travel going to change because of AI?

If you consider how most people currently book a trip. It starts with Google (other search engines are available) or an OTA or directly with a hotel or airline.  They fill in their required destination, dates and so on and are presented with a long list of results to plough through. The process is time consuming and tedious. How much better would this be if this was automated and travellers were able say what they were looking for “A family trip to London with a hotel that has a pool and within walking distance of Covent Garden.” This is a clear example of how gen AI will change the discovery process and improve the booking experience.

Consumers drop digital nuggets of things they like and don’t like when shopping online. They may abandon a cart or return less frequently to search.  All of these are small bits of information that consumers provide travel brands.  The ability to record what they are keen on and less interested in and less likely to convert on, then turn that into relevant offers is really important.

As travel marketers use AI to automate and optimize campaigns, they can make informed campaign decisions based on real-time information. AI can mimic the role of the analyst, giving brands access to the same tools and information of their larger competitors. That means companies can deliver the experience travellers want regardless of their budget.

There are many stages where AI can intersect with a trip, from personalised recommendations based on previous travel, online purchases and post travel where consumers may be asked about their experience and start thinking about future trips.  The problem is that it doesn’t all sit in one place. The holy grail will be the ability to get the right information and the right data to bring it all together for a single customer experience. That’s the future of AI and that’s how travel will change.

For now, AI is poised to focus on efficient and highly personalised solutions tailored to individual traveller’s needs. This vision signifies the next phase of the travel industry and confirms the impact of AI in making travel more convenient and personalised.  

As AI continues to evolve, its impact on travel and tourism will undoubtedly change. The seamless integration of AI technology will make travel more personalised, efficient and secure. As we embrace this new era the travel industry will reap the many benefits AI has to offer.