Experts are persistently upgrading artificial intelligence solutions making them reliable and effective instruments for numerous spheres. The tourism sector is implementing the best of AI and ML into versatile segments. These modern technologies help business owners perform various administrative tasks and offer excellent customer services on the one hand and ensure an effortless and convenient practice for travelers on the other.
Increased deployment of ML and AI in the travel industry accounts for enhancing personalization, giving valuable advice, and ensuring a speedy response period, even when the employees are absent. As many hotels and resorts worldwide depend heavily on artificial intelligence solutions in delivering their services and gaining a strong reputation, the travel AI market is projected to exceed $1.2 bn by 2026.
The present article covers successful uses of ML and AI in the travel sector revealing the most efficient ways they can boost operations within tourism-related businesses.
Innovative computer systems brought enormous changes into the tourism sphere a few years ago and are still causing a considerable paradigm shift. Let’s have a closer look at AI technologies applied in different spheres of the travel life-cycle.
AI-driven travel chatbots
The conception of AI in travel and hospitality has reengineered the whole ecosystem. Travel agencies and hotels that apply chatbots as an indispensable part of their AI strategy are more likely to increase their profits and boost customer experience. AI chatbots have radically transformed the mode of processing booking searches, especially in the hospitality business, where bots can substitute a hotel receptionist to handle booking queries.
Travel chatbots assist tourists by providing relevant information on a planned location, weather, room or flight reservation, car rental, etc. This potential makes a booking journey convenient and easy for travelers. The survey proved that two-thirds of respondents find AI chatbots useful when making travel arrangements. To ensure instantaneous responses and effective engagement with customers, some travel companies have launched artificially intelligent chatbots on their Facebook pages and messengers.
Edwardian Hotels has successfully implemented a virtual concierge Edward. This AI-powered application is tailored for text messages, through which it provides the guests with customized data and necessary help. It can answer hundreds of questions concerning the nearest restaurants, bars, railway stations, local sights, etc.
Another bright example of AI in the travel business is the chatbot called Rose utilized by the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. Rose was tailored to offer clients unique experiences adding to the brand recognition at the same time. A distinctive feature of this automation system is its ability to establish an emotional connection with the visitors who become charmed with its playful personality. Rose can deliver recommendations to the guests if they want to book a table at a restaurant, visit a spa, or go on a spontaneous trip.
Such famous travel reservation companies as Booking and Skyscanner have integrated travel chatbots in their systems as well. Users can switch on the Skyscanner bot on a social network, tell it a trip date and receive the information about the cheapest flights to the desired destination. Moreover, this chatbot sends alert messages concerning flight discounts.
Read also: Chatbot Apps: The Future of Customer Service
Voice-based digital assistants
AI-empowered technologies for voice recognition have laid the ground for a novel concept of the digitalized hospitality industry. Thus, many hospitality companies globally are applying voice assistants that give tremendous advantages to both visitors and hotels. These solutions belong to a group of speech recognition software that can be embedded into a computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
As a part of the hotel’s IoT systems, voice-based digital devices are usually connected with various hotel facilities. Such assistants offer the clients a number of advantages like quick reception desk requests, automated room control, Internet connection, regional weather forecast, and hands-free calling. Moreover, guests can also regulate the physical environment in the room, particularly lights, temperature, and television.
Hotel owners find voice-activated devices extremely beneficial as they enable them to bring down labor costs and ensure perfect services nonstop. Due to such solutions, the staff always remains aware of guests’ requests and can reply quickly or text the necessary department.
The hotels that pioneered voice assistants were Aloft Hotels and Wynn Resorts Las Vegas. The hoteliers deployed Apple Siri and Amazon’s Echo speakers. Following the practice of these businesses, voice devices were later implemented in many other hotels, particularly Charlotte Marriott City Center, Wilkinson’s Resort, and Clarion Hotel Amaranten.
Automatic facial recognition
A notable case of AI in travel and tourism is the utilization of facial recognition technologies meant to identify individuals by their facial features. Facial identification functions in compliance with the safety boundaries and legal requirements. This biometric solution recognizes people in a few seconds by comparing their lips, eyes, ears, and chin with the similar ones available in the database.
In the tourism sphere, facial identification software is widely deployed at airports, train stations, hotels, and restaurants. In these travel segments, the authentication technologies provide quick access to travel facilities, and, more importantly, grant a high degree of security for the staff and travelers.
A survey has proved that 64% of Americans support the idea of utilizing AI-based recognition methods at airports. By applying biometrics, airports have considerably reduced check-in time so that customers do not waste their time in long lines.
Testing a facial screening method conducted by the Transportation Security Administration at some American airports proved this solution to be effective for the automated verification at checkpoints. The airlines that actively apply AI-driven facial identification include JetBlue Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, and Adria Airways.
Robust practices of facial recognition allow restaurants and hotels to customize their services as they can recognize clients from the database and please them with exclusive greetings and deliver customer-oriented services.
AI-empowered facial systems determine customer likes by judging their previous visits. Moreover, this technology makes it impossible for a fraudster to get into a hotel room or any other hospitality facility.
Personalized recommendations for tourists
Tourist recommendation systems are a bright sample of utilizing machine learning in the travel industry. Such systems are heavily adopted by various tourism facilities to enhance decision-taking and planning, ensure results-driven optimization, and improve scheduling procedures.
According to the research conducted by Sabre, up to 75% of people favor personalization in various forms of modern travel businesses. The implementation of digital personalization by airlines, hotels, and restaurants enables them to tailor specific services adjusted to customer preferences.
Personalized recommendations are based on user behavior data obtained from particular actions people perform on travel-related websites. Supposing a person is surfing the Skyscanner site to find a suitable flight from Boston to Washington, at the same time, he will be recommended some hotels to stay at during the visit.
Another example of how the recommendations engine works is Booking.com, which provides many details about the hotel a person is interested in. The search queries on the website may signal the travel aim. For instance, if a person is interested in restaurants, bars, museums, or cinemas close to a hotel, it becomes clear that it is a pleasure traveler, not a business one.
So, further personalized recommendations can be given on this ground. Except for user behavior data on their websites, hospitality businesses can deploy geolocation and social media data to provide their customers with specific offers.
Profound sentiment analysis
Tourism product feedback given by people on different travel review platforms, professional travel blogs, or social media are valuable data sources for travel agencies, hoteliers, restaurant owners, and tourists.
Reviews are posted by people who visited certain places and are sharing their experiences. Such information is presented online voluntarily. Thus, it is believed to be true and unbiased as it is usually backed by relevant photos made by travelers during their trips.
Text-based comments undergo sentiment analysis that uses Machine Learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing technologies to study person’s opinions and ideas about certain tourism services and products. Travel-related businesses that apply such analytics can transform the obtained information into a competitive advantage.
Travel reviews help entrepreneurs determine tourist needs and discover the negative and positive sides of their services. Tourists can use information from review platforms like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Lonely Planet to avoid problems while planning and going on a trip.
AI baggage handling solution
Automated baggage systems at airports testify to the successful AI applications in the travel industry. The baggage services have to deal with tons of that stuff daily. Luckily, digital innovations and improvements have modernized tracking and handling methods that ensure seamless experiences for airlines and their customers through reliable baggage services.
Modern AI instruments utilize photo identification to trace baggage for tourists, which enables them to forecast the amount of bags a particular person may have based on previously obtained travel data. These systems imply storing scanned images of the suitcases in a database.
Baggage key parameters and individual features allow for validating it to a certain passenger, not for a single trip but on other journeys when a person uses their bag. Both airports and voyagers can also benefit from special airlines apps designed to find the lost baggage or track it when it is still in transit.
The first trials of AI-driven technology for baggage handling were made at Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands. BagsID claimed that the experiment conducted at this airport has proven the efficiency and reliability of AI-based solutions for luggage check-in. They plan to prolong the pilot until 2023 to deliver even more profound and extensive trials.
This technology utilized a top-notch check-in method with no luggage labels fostering a green policy of the airports. The travelers just have to take a picture of their baggage and then upload it. But the use of an AI-powered luggage handling system by passengers is possible providing the destination airport is utilizing the same system.
Robotic technologies for self-service
Travel agencies, hoteliers, airports, and other tourism businesses highly appreciate the degree of self-service provided by virtual assistants and robots. Recently, hotels have widely implemented robotic technologies to speed-up check-in procedures, keep loads of information about their clients, and multitask beyond human capabilities.
Robots enhance the guest experience in specific ways. For instance, they can greet tourists, accompany them to their rooms, suggest leisure activities, etc. In terms of communication, AI-based virtual assistants and robots have become very helpful for international travelers as they have embedded translation software enabling the guests to conduct communication in their native language. Such operation capacities of robots show how useful AI in tourism can be.
The boom of robotized staff was caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that demanded the introduction of contactless services wherever it was possible. Thus, disinfection robots were applied at major tourism facilities like airports, hotels, bus and railway stations. This tendency played an important role in delivering hygienic and safe services without affecting availability. Daily services performed by hospitality robots may vary from cleaning and baggage carrying to room food delivery.
A fascinating example of robots in the tourism industry derives from the Henn-na Hotel in Japan. Here you will be greeted by a woman robot and a dinosaur robot at a guest desk, your luggage will be carried by a robot porter and you will not need a key to enter your room as they utilize facial recognition software instead.
The Hilton Hotel Group has applied an AI-empowered concierge Connie developed by IBM. This robot can talk with the clients and react to their requests thanks to speech recognition tools. The uses of robots in tourism show that this ecosystem keeps adopting robotic automation. Consequently, robots will become an indispensable part of hotel facilities in the near future.
AI-empowered flight forecasting apps
AI-based methods were used to develop cutting-edge travel apps enabling us to forecast flights and travel-related things like hotels. These innovative solutions serve travelers in terms of finding the cheapest price and providing details on flight costs in the future.
The best AI practices were applied for developing the Hopper application that was launched in 2015 and has become the fastest-growing app for flight booking.
The application utilizes sophisticated ML algorithms to offer users the best deals and project the best time for purchasing airline tickets and reserving hotels. Hopper relies on an AI-driven prediction engine capable of defining the prices even a year ahead, ensuring 95% accuracy.
A distinctive feature of Hopper consists in offering personal recommendations for customers whether to buy a flight now or a bit later when the price goes down. Hopper’s app tailors the offers of the right travel dates regarding the information in its large-scale database of flight prices.
Hopper’s application relies on push messages that notify users about the optimal time to purchase their desired flight. On top of that feature, this AI-based app also knows what kind of experiences a person is searching for and assists them in exploring new destinations or journeys.
Obviously, the impact of artificial intelligence in the tourism industry should not be underestimated. Today’s AI-driven solutions reveal another dimension to a big number of travel facilities, including airports, railway stations, hotels, and other businesses.
AI use cases in travel presented in this article show beyond doubt that from a client’s perspective, the extensive powers of innovative technologies have considerably simplified trip planning, booking, and the trip itself.
As for the service providers, AI technologies enable them to forecast travel choices, tailor customized trip solutions adjusted to traveler’s needs, uplift customer service, boost operational capacity, reduce running expenditures, and bring higher profits for the tourism business.
If you want to discover the potential of AI applications for your travel and hospitality business, contact us for a free consultation with our team.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is artificial intelligence used in tourism?
AI-based solutions do not just reduce the person-to-person interaction but also transform the mode tourism services are tailored to customers’ satisfaction.
The best applications of artificial intelligence in the travel industry can be found in travel chatbots, voice assistants and robots, facial recognition software, systems for crafting personalized recommendations, sentiment analysis, luggage handling, and flights forecasting.
How do robots help in traveling?
Robotic solutions are becoming a new normalcy representing the most compelling examples of AI in tourism. Robots can perform the functions of travel agents, hotel concierges, cleaners, luggage porters, etc.
Such innovative helpers are widely used at airports and hotels, proving how customer experience is transforming under the influence of AI.
How is technology transforming the travel and tourism industry?
New technological advancements optimize various travel-related processes, including communication, booking, checking-in, room service, and security. Businesses and customers benefit from digitalization in terms of personalized experiences, flawless and fast services, as well as reduced expenses.