November 28, 2017, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
While the advent of the World Wide Web brought incredible opportunities and data, it also delivered information overload, an increasing phenomenon of the 21st century.
It is estimated that we are buried under so many mounds of information and data that, if delivered in newspaper form, it would equal 174 newspapers a day. Instead of improving our ability to make decisions, it has left us filtering through piles of websites, emails, blogs and online reviews.
This information overload has had the effect of leaving many of us more paralyzed than productive with too many choices. After all, who has the time to spend a week scouring through the massive data available through multiple search engines? It's hard enough keeping up with our emails, texts and social media posts.
Enter the Personal User Experience
Fortunately, modern technology has developed an answer to our data onslaught—artificial intelligence. AI's ability to track historical data and combine it with predictive analytics has led to personalized and user-friendly data delivery. As I’ve mentioned before, even Google has announced that it no longer considers itself a "mobile-first" company. It is now "AI-first.
Netflix is one example of a company that is using AI to create a user-friendly platform experience. They cater to their subscribers by offering choices based on past preferences, and 2017 saw their stock up 52 percent, with first-quarter earnings at $2.64 billion.
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in the Travel Industry
This onslaught of information is affecting multiple industries with one being particularly hard hit—travel. It is estimated that travelers spend over 30 hours researching and booking their next vacation.
Not only is there an incredible amount of options, there are many parts that need to be addressed in order to complete the whole. You've got your flights, hotels, restaurants, events and on-the-ground activities that you need to research—not to mention cost, location and transportation that also must be considered.
According to an article in the Washington Post, "Nearly 85 percent of travel and hospitality professionals are using AI within their businesses."
These businesses are turning to AI in order to make the customer experience an enjoyable one instead of an anxiety-producing nightmare. By using AI analytics you can predict customer-specific behavior and offer suggestions based on this predictability. Individualized bookings and recommendations are based on customer preferences and habits, and ancillary features can be bundled together based on customer segments.
Options can be presented to travelers based on their individual profiles. For example, if a company knows that a customer loves adventure, scuba diving and hotels with spas, AI algorithms can help surface the best recommendations for those unique preferences. This limits the mass number of options that often causes great frustration. Travelers can build incredibly memorable vacation packages in as little as a few hours instead of several days or even weeks.
Giving consumers too much to choose from can lead to indecision. Travel companies must leverage artificial intelligence to help alleviate the anxiety that comes with travel planning in order to improve the overall customer experience and deliver a better opportunity for increased sales.