Let’s establish one thing, businesses should automate. While we will be talking about various ways automation and artificial intelligence (AI) can streamline processes and enhance customer experience, let’s understand what automation and AI actually are. In simple terms, automation is the use of instructions to create a process that replaces manual work. While AI is the simulation of human intelligence in machines, these machines are programmed to imitate the way humans think, learn and solve problems.
Why are they important?
According to a research done by Adobe, 50% of travel and hospitality companies today are gathering and using real-time data; 47% are using automated personalization.
Automation makes life easier, tasks faster and efficiency better. Some of the benefits that automation brings in are, quality, consistency, cost reduction, faster turnaround time and improved operational efficiency to name a few. AI on the other hand can bring the human element to information exchange, for e.g. bots can be simulated to engage with a user, send emojis based on the sentiment and even share stickers. However, let’s do a break down and look at how automation and AI can enhance the landscape of the travel industry:
Real-time tracking and reporting through automation helps businesses pinpoint trends like spending patterns of the traveler, pricing strategies of your competitor and monitoring other excessive costs. Automation also gives light to unforeseen business opportunities and helps in the overall governance of your operations. These metrics can be picked up by AI and help predict and recommend destinations and even suggest services in hotels.
Enhanced customer experience
Travelers of today demand an interesting experience. With the help of automation and AI technology, brands today are able to stay in touch with the traveler before and after their journey. It allows them to deliver personalized communication and experiences at the right time. Automation and AI assist in creating an intuitive experience for the traveler who is looking to learn and experience new things.
A study by Medium revealed, 90% of travelers worldwide say they expect a personalized experience when they book their travel.
Time spent on administrative tasks such as searching, checking, collation etc. can be time consuming, however, with automation, this can be a very quick process. Automation can carry out high-volume tasks with greater accuracy while avoiding any manual errors and freeing up employees to focus on customers in front of them. AI on the other hand can draw patterns and provide additional insights about the customer to help employees with more personalized responses to their customers.
Many customers use price comparison websites to make travel decisions. Using automation to understand your competitor’s behavior and gain market intelligence should be high on a brands’ priority if they want to stay in the competition. Automated pricing with the help of AI can help feed accurate data and set dynamic pricing for your business through offers and promotions and can also help fix those abandoned travel carts.
What was previously a painstaking task of inputting manual codes, has become a smooth painless process. With automation and AI, employees are able to track real-time spending and access reports from a centralized location, which traditional systems could not handle. Automated self-booking systems have freed up time in other areas of a business. Stacks of statements and invoices can now be swiftly processed even after modifications are made at the customer’s end.
The automation approach has far-reaching benefits, for e.g.; conversations with your customers don’t have to end once their travel is complete. Even post travel, businesses can stay in touch with the customer through emailers and digital ads. Brands can use automation and artificial intelligence to send relevant offers to customers based on their travel history. Even customers who browsed on your platform but did not check out can be targeted with the help of automation and AI.
Brands that take business priorities and objectives seriously should automate their business processes to maximize results.
But for many, the million dollar question is, how and where to get started?
IGT’s automation centre of excellence is an all-inclusive solution for travel brands. Equipped with the right tools and experts, IGT has successfully implemented automated solutions like Chatbots and RPAs for multiple large airlines, hotels and OTAs. By leveraging automation with AI, we are able to generate models for solving complex business problems with the right mix of robotics and humans.
Businesses looking to scale have to answer a simple question, do they want to reap the above benefits? If yes, then getting started is easy with IGT’s Automation Consultative Services and Artificial Intelligence offerings, where a team of experienced travel SMEs and business consultants can help you with the following sub-services:
- Automation maturity assessment
- Speech and text analytics
- Financial and technical feasibility
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Robotics
- ROI and Business Case Development
- Automation Centre of Excellence Roadmap
Automation and AI are shaping the future of travel management; not only do they lead to efficient operations for a brand, but also increase employee satisfaction. Employees are able to make best choices with the help of the decision support provided by these technologies, due to which, they are able to maintain compliance, engage with the customer and feel a sense of loyalty for the brand they represent.
Gurmeet Oberoi is a researcher and writer of change tactics and technologies in travel and other verticals, she frequently posts across the digital ecosystem. With 9-yrs of experience in communications and marketing, Gurmeet has a passion for travel and reading among other things. She can be reached at email@example.com