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After nearly three years of travel restrictions and border closures due to the pandemic, the travel industry began to return to normal last year.
Amid unmet travel demand, more than 900 million tourists have made international travel last year. Although this figure is only 63% of the pre-pandemic level, it is estimated United Nations World Tourism Organization predict that tourism could improve significantly, reaching around 80–95% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023.
The growing potential for full recovery has spurred the industry to improve and adapt new technologies to meet the needs of travelers and meet growing demands. With the introduction of several advanced systems, including Artificial intelligence (AI), travel agents can now closely monitor traveler trends and improve the overall travel experience from booking to check-in.
What is Generative AI?
In recent years, the pervasive technology industry that has changed the way consumers and travelers plan their vacations is due in part to the growing development of generative AI.
Generative AI is a broad term that refers to several categories of AI algorithms that can help generate new texts, images, audio, code, and synthetic data. These outputs are delivered through deep machine learning networks that use a wide range of data points to compile and deliver different outputs based on a query.
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Perhaps the most notable trend in generative AI is recent release of ChatGPT. ChatGPT the model uses language input models that can help answer questions and assist with various language or text tasks, including writing emails, essays, and coding.
Generative AI in travel
AI and its components are nothing new to the travel industry. Research shows that 30% of hospitality and similar companies are already using some form of AI to help them improve sales, websites, and product personalization.
We are already seeing such technologies in travel with advanced personalization, AI travel assistants, AI-based flight forecasting apps, chatbots and direct online messaging, and data analytics that track travel trends.
As these and other systems improve as the industry recovers, offering real solutions for travelers and businesses, how could generative AI be the next breakthrough tool to help improve the travel experience and create more personalized travel experiences?
Automatic booking upgrade processing
His It is estimated that in 2023, approximately 700 million people will book online. According to ReadWrite.com, about 83% of American adults planning to travel this year will book their trip through an online platform or portal.
Generative AI enables direct and seamless communication, and for companies in the travel and leisure industry, this enables companies in the travel and leisure industry to use direct and targeted messaging to reach the right consumer market at the right time.
Instead of relying on interactive ads and website banners, businesses will now be able to directly communicate with multiple different audiences at the same time. This will be more common among companies in the airline, cruise and hotel industries, offering customers an enhanced experience at every point of interaction.
Generative AI will attract customers using words and language most related to the customer journey. This will take big data analytics to a whole new level, where companies will be able to reach out to their customers with language segments related to their travel experience.
Creating the best customer loyalty programs
Meeting customer needs and providing the right solutions can help businesses turn paying customers into loyal followers. As part of its efforts to create more tactile customer loyalty programwhich has effectively used customer data to profile travelers, generative AI will be able to create a complete portrait of the traveler.
Through these efforts, booking sites and travel aggregators will have an informed view of their customers and will be able to predict when a traveler will increasingly opt out of a loyalty program. This can help them come up with new or different offers and marketing campaigns that can help travelers stay engaged and interested.
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As more data is gathered about travelers, companies can formulate personalized rewards and rewards to help improve the accuracy of customer interactions. These efforts are already active with the use of chatbots and direct messaging on websites, which is a common way for companies to resolve customer issues and respond to inquiries.
Improved experiences and more personalized targeting will automatically boost overall customer engagement, leading to more loyal followers and travelers.
Direct Marketing Communication
As more customer data is collected, it will be easier to target customer marketing communications based on their experiences and interactions.
in the tourism industry, generative AI will be able to use these algorithms to create a more personalized travel itinerary for clients depending on their needs and direct language input. This will mean that customers will automatically be included in a loyalty program designed for similar products and services.n
Instead of customers looking for a specific destination only to view results and never returning, Generative AI will target those customers based on their interests and provide them with a more informative route.
These AI models can enable direct marketing communication with any customer, allowing companies to offer the right set of products or services to customers along the way.
Virtual client services
Most customer service these days is handled online via email, direct messaging, or chatbots. These applications have allowed companies to have direct contact with the customer at any time and ensure that when a problem arises, artificial intelligence can use the main language processing to resolve any complaints.
The next step will be to implement more humanoid or robotic customer service, removing humans from the chain of interaction and allowing AI to generate possible solutions for customers.
In some cases, researchers found that travel and entertainment organizations such as hotels, restaurants, and booking sites are fully digital, minimizing the need for human contact and providing ongoing on-demand service.
In the travel industry, customer service cannot be ignored. Research shows that about 81% of customers who have had a positive customer experience are likely to make another purchase. About 76% of customers want to interact or speak with a company representative after contacting a company.
This is where generative AI only becomes important for observing and analyzing customer experiences, immediately providing them with the right information they need and solving possible problems they may encounter along the way.
Assistance with planning and booking
Combined with the importance of virtual customer service and tailored online communication, scheduling and booking assistance is another category where generative AI can be applied.
Companies are already experimenting with different ways to deliver the right products and services to travelers at the planning and booking stage. With the help of generative AI, customers in most cases will receive on-demand access to the services they need and desire.
Travelers booking vacations will be automatically redirected to several different experiences or excursions at their destination. They will be offered hotels and car rental deals, discounts and loyalty program offers specifically tailored to their holiday needs.
Direct communication between companies and travelers through mobile messaging applications such as Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger will be activated to inform customers about upcoming trips, bookings or any possible changes.
Adapting to the traveler’s itinerary will mean chatbots on booking sites will immediately provide answers or results related to specific requests. Customers will no longer need to contact support, as all the necessary information will be available to them upon request.
It’s quite interesting to think how much AI has already done for tourism industry. With new software and technology, travel companies can focus their efforts on a more efficient and better customer experience, from planning to booking to check-in.
Generative AI offers travelers a more personalized experience that puts them in direct contact with the right services and products and helps make the entire journey smoother. Giving customers the right options reduces planning and booking time and can also help create more loyal and trusted customers in an industry looking to recover.