Of all the incredible technologies to come about and affect the travel industry in recent decades, one of the biggest is artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, or AI, has started making huge inroads into the travel industry and, more specifically, helping travel agents better understand travel trends. Some travel agents and travel agencies fear that AI may entirely one day take over the human role that they play. These fears, however, are far overblown as artificial intelligence is a compliment to the human factor rather than a replacement, and the responsible use of artificial intelligence can make a travel agent’s job easier, make them more efficient, and help them understand travel trends of their clientele better. So how has artificial intelligence changed and impacted the travel industry?
One of the easiest and most visible ways that individuals, travel agencies, and the entire travel industry have been helped for the better with AI is with dynamic pricing. Every single time a hotel books a room at a given time and date, an airline sells a ticket for a specified time or any other number of millions of data points, this data is collected and analyzed by artificial intelligence programs. These programs are designed to maximize money for their respective industries by changing prices to reflect a changing environment. This is the whole concept behind dynamic pricing.
This is why airline tickets and hotel rooms are often more expensive on the weekends than they are on the weekdays. This is why when there is going to be a big concert in town, rooms that are normally cheap are more expensive than they usually are. The dynamic pricing control by artificial intelligence knows or at least has a good indication, of the supply and demand for a given area under certain circumstances by observing travel trends from thousands or even millions of data points. This allows for pricing to be far more fluid than it was in the past which not only maximizes profits for the industries but also can score individuals some incredible deals especially when they use a travel agent.
Travel agents, oftentimes helped by dynamic pricing, have special deals and discounts with different hotel chains or other suppliers. So when people see a good deal, there is a possibility that their travel agent may be able to get them an even better one. Artificial intelligence is all well and fine but it’s the human relationships and the human component that enhance it just that much more.
Artificial intelligence that provides traveling assistance is a huge complement to a travel agent and not a hindrance. These travel assistance programs are available in a variety of applications such as Facebook Messenger, AI Travel Assistance, Slack, and others. Within these programs are chatbots which are designed to answer simple questions. This makes the traveler’s job far easier as now instead of having to contact their travel agent to ask readily-available questions, the digital travel assistant using AI is able to do that work for them.
This makes the mobile travel assistant an excellent first responder to simple questions that individuals need to know. This by no means replaces the travel agent but is a big compliment to them because the artificial assistant can be on the clock 24/7 whereas human agents need time to rest even though they can be accessed as well 24/7 through solutions like Travelport Mobile Agent. Not only that, but it also keeps travel agencies from having their agents tied up with simplistic questions about simple flight times or pricing for different areas and instead allows them to focus on deeper and more essential matters of travel such as helping find a unique kind of event or travel experience which may not be readily findable using a digital assistant.
Travel agents can also help when plans change and they are faster and better at helping make dynamic successful changes to ensure the happiness and the overall experience of a trip, or even help you to deal with a crisis situation. By letting artificial intelligence take on minor questions and minor day to day operations, human travel agents are far more available to work on those questions, projects, or plans that AI is simply not up to.
Recommendations and suggestions
This is another big one that artificial intelligence has helped within recent years and is one more huge complement to the travel industry and that is the ability to help clients make suggestions about where they may want to go. Artificial intelligence has come a long way from simply recommending previous trips you have gone on to now offering and suggesting trips you may like to go to based on your previous trip history or user experience. By using your publicly available data, the places where you have done Google searches for, or where you spent time on vacation websites, artificial intelligence is then able to use these data points to try and find a destination that meets all of your needs. Oftentimes this will combine things like the best pricing, the best time of year, availability of hotel accommodations, and the best flight times as a part of its recommendation.
For instance, if you have been looking for and doing web research on different tropical locations, do not be surprised if when you think about booking a ticket you get suggestions for some of the places you have visited and exceptional deals at that. This provides a sort of baseline for where to go and the general pricing available.
Even if one decides to book trips using AI recommendations, a travel agent still has an important role to play as travel agents can not only meet changing travel dynamics which artificial intelligence is still very poor at, but a travel agency can also help connect you with special local events or insider knowledge of places and people that AI lacks. People who work for the travel agency are often themselves widely traveled and so they have a special kind of knowledge which complements artificial intelligence recommendations and can help ensure any trip is not only more secure but also that the experiences are richer.
In closing, artificial intelligence is not the enemy of the travel industry. Travel agents within the industry need to embrace technology as its friend and helper. By using advanced tech solutions like Travel Tech Solutions, or TTS, agents will have more time to focus on the human component of travel and ensure the personal touch on every trip that AI lacks.
Read also: How Travel Agents win over Self Booking Tool