Products and business models such as Uber and Airbnb are not alien to us, given the pace at which travel and hospitality industries have embraced digital transformation. The two industries have been quick in adopting more recent technologies, as well as turning those into profitable investments for business owners. AI and Mobility mark the industries’ necessity to offer personalized services, travel interest predictions, and serve in-trip and post-trip needs.
As Travel and Hospitality (T&H) industries look to enhance customer experience, customer retention, customer service, and marketing strategies, AI and mobility help them achieve this and more with new levels of disruption.
According to the Worldwide Hospitality, Travel 2018 predictions by IDC, by the end of 2019, 70 percent of online travel agencies and 60 percent of hotels worldwide could have adopted artificial intelligence. This will help these businesses increase their customers by about 30 percent.
Let’s look at several ways how T&H businesses can access and leverage their customer’s digital footprint across various touchpoints to create better experiences for them using AI and mobility.
AI-powered chatbots have comfortably intruded into the travel and hotel industry to assist staff with several aspects of customer interaction. Travel chatbots help customers book travel tickets, check the status of their flights and trains, make hotel reservations, access 24/7 support services, and do these based on a variety of personal interests and preferences.
Expedia.com is a travel agency leveraging a chatbot to help its customers pick the ideal hotel. Although the website allows customers to look up hotels, flights, cars, and cruises, the Facebook Messenger based chatbot only handles hotel booking at the moment.
KLM Royal Dutch Airline is another business that makes use of chatbots. Its customers can opt-in to receive check-in notification, booking confirmation, flight status, and boarding pass updates via Messenger.
Personalized, Context-sensitive Services
Personalization in the travel and hospitality industry means the world to buyers. It helps create an exceptional experience for them and assures customer delight. Personalization can be unlocked by using AI upon data concerning customer preferences, satisfaction levels, purchase behavior, likes and dislikes, which is acquired via personal and professional networks and other sources.
Artificial intelligence can help create fine-tune hyper-individualized campaigns to improve customer retention and revenue. At the same time, ML can enable gathering predictive data, identifying patterns within huge datasets, and comprehend customer behavior to facilitate personalization.
Hilton Hotels uses Connie, a robot concierge, to make guest experiences personalized and enjoyable. The two-foot-tall robot greets guests in the lobby, answers their questions, learns about them and offers personalized recommendations of restaurants and places to visit. The robot can also point guests toward several amenities they might need around the hotel.
Mobility to Empower Employees
Mobile strategies can help employees serve customers in the best way they can. Enterprise mobility can help travel and hotel businesses give their employees the right tools to delight their customers.
One of the major airlines in the US, Alaska Airlines, successfully deployed its enterprise mobile app across over 10,000 corporate devices operated by employees on the front-line back in 2016. Moreover, over 40 percent of the company’s employees use their personal smartphones at work as part of their BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy.
For Alaska Airlines, mobility solved a pressing challenge: a high number of stakeholders. They wanted to create a mobile app that catered to flight attendants, mechanics, pilots, business administrators, customer service reps, etc. they found it hard to coordinate efforts from all these groups.
An enterprise app helped them unify processes and bring all under the purview of one mobile app.
Making Employee Training more Effective with Mobility
Mobile solutions can improve the effectiveness of training and upskilling opportunities for employes, helping businesses in the T&H industries to consistently be the best service providers. Hyatt Hotels has nearly 670 properties in over 50 countries. After shifting their infrastructure to the cloud, the company decided to pursue mobility for employee training.
The mobile app replaced 2,500 paper-based manuals back in 2015. The solution now caters to over 100,000 employees, offering them easy access to PDF documents, videos, and online sources. The shorter training videos on the platform have no voice, providing visual guidance to its employees across several linguistic boundaries. The platform also leverages ML and AI to enhance and personalize the learning experience for its employees.
The Intelligent Mentor becomes increasingly smart as users engage more and more with the platform. It then offers tailored recommendations on courses to take, skills to develop, and resources to read based on the user’s activity to improve the quality and productivity of their work.
Post-trip Sentiment Analytics
With social media, customers now like to express themselves instantly after taking a trip. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, T&H companies can identify which features of their loyalty program appeal to customers and which ones are deal-breakers. Sentiment analysis helps businesses understand the positive and negative views of their customers by analyzing emotional behavior on social platforms.
Based on their behavior, interests, and preferences, travel and hospitality businesses can retarget their customers by offering new recommendations, discounts, and offers for their next purchase.
Several other use cases mark how businesses in the travel and hospitality domain can leverage AI and mobility to empower their employees, improve their services, and appeal to their customers in more fascinating and unique ways. By utilizing AI and mobility for staff assistance, operations management, lodging services, back-office automation, and revenue accounting purposes, hotels and travel agencies can leverage these technologies for higher ROI and more revenue.