Enhancing customer experience and personalisation has been on the minds of every travel industry player. With a wide variety of solutions available in the market, it is easy to find ways to accomplish these goals at a relatively short amount of time. Yet, there is one term that has been making headlines all around the industry for its great power when it comes to presenting good results. Machine learning, or ML, can be a great accelerator for companies that aim to add value to their services.
Firstly, what is machine learning? Machine learning is a part of artificial intelligence or AI. It is capable of learning and analysing data in order to make predictions. The process starts by entering data which later is analysed according to their relationship. The finding of the patterns allows the data to be organised and creates a model. After developing the model it is possible to make predictions, and as the system is fed with more data, the more accurate these predictions get.
A recent MIT SMR global study about strategic measurement shows that 70% of marketing executives are adopting machine learning due to its impact on marketing activities. And the number will most likely increase as data science is certainly being responsible for important changes across many industries, especially in travel.
Presence in the travel industry
Nowadays, machine learning techniques are being chased by tourism companies. The main reason for that is due to its usage enabling businesses to have a clear and fast understanding of the customers. By learning about clients, companies are then able to analyse and redefine outcomes, making better and more efficient use of the data it possesses.
From chatbots that provide users with rapid and assertive responses to trip planning, there are many machine learning integrations that could be made to boost travel businesses. For example, Machine Learning technology is able to recommend hotels, flights, activities and much more based on the customers' preferences and predict price increase for plane tickets. Moreover, it allows players to establish an automated customer service, as it can help solve common issues such as, in the case of airlines, lost luggage or flight changes.
Because of the high personalisation component, there is no doubt that all these solutions can positively impact industry businesses. In fact, Machine Learning helps companies increase customer loyalty and conversion rates. It can also analyse online reviews, giving brands a better sense of users' overall perspective of their services and the ability to address the issues.
A great example of a brand using machine learning in the travel industry is Allianz Travel Insurance. The company has tapped into the issue of the lack of personalisation when selling insurances. Daniel Durazo, the company's spokesman says "While the ability to compare products is often mentioned, never mentioned is the lack of visibility into the insurance providers behind the products being offered."
Because of that, Allianz counted on Machine Learning to develop a way to ensure users get the appropriate coverage during their trip. More importantly, the company wanted to display all the relevant information customers would like to know when purchasing insurances, such as the customer service hours, or reliability, for example. Answering all the important questions in seconds and minimising the time wasted on the booking process.
There is no time to waste
The past of the industry shows that technology advances when incorporated into travel brings companies to success. The innovation factor speaks volumes to the quality and personalisation of the services offered. Although it is not an easy task to track and manage a large amount of data, it is part of the future that no one will be able to avoid.
John Langley, director of development for the Center for Supply Chain Research at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, said “we see all of this added computing power—IoT/telematic data collection, data mining, artificial intelligence and machine learning—that can be focused on making better decisions, not only from an overall strategic and resource planning basis but in real-time decisions.”
Machine learning is what can help companies to optimise the decision-making process and develop better operational strategies. The progress should be constant as customer's expectations need to be met online and offline. With that in mind, travel-oriented businesses have no time to waste. The solutions are already made and tested and in order to provide customers with what they want, these companies need to incorporate machine learning into their strategies and services immediately.