According to IDC Futurescape, 75% of developer teams will use AI technology in one or more business applications or services by 2018 - this includes businesses in the travel industry.

Allied Market Research estimates that the online travel industry will generate USD$1,091 billion, globally, by 2022. With the industry growing at lightning speed, travel companies are now using AI to power everything from customer acquisition, engagement, and retention on their websites.

Travel companies will use AI to personalize Online Travel Booking

‘Conversions’ in the world of online travel commonly equate to bookings - flights, hotels, cars, and of course, the all important upgrades.

Booking travel online can be one of the more complex online experiences with travelers commonly needing to click through multiple pages - home/welcome, flight/holiday search, traveller information, payment, etc. - before they convert to an eventual purchase. With this lengthy path to walk before conversion happens, there are a multitude of different points where potential buyers can drop off or abandon the process entirely and it’s this that makes website optimisation an especially key area that travel companies can and should be exploiting.

Luckily, there have been a number of AI-led advances in the world of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) which are helping travel companies rapidly optimise their websites and drive the highest possible conversions from visitors.

Website optimisation typically involves A/B testing, a drawn out process of comparing the performance of one static version of a website design against another. Advances in the space however have led to the emergence of multivariate testing technologies which allow users to test many different website elements across multiple pages at the same time and rapidly find the most effective combination that drives the highest conversions from customers.

AI-powered customer service Chatbots

According to Business Insider, over 80% of businesses are expected to have some sort of chatbot automation implemented by 2020. AI powered chatbots are growing in popularity within numerous industries but particularly within travel. SITA, a Geneva-based aviation technology firm, reported that 68% of airlines say they intend to adopt AI-driven chatbots to drive customer service in the next three years.

With the ability to answer a multitude of commonly asked questions quickly, efficiently and at scale, chatbots are able to relieve strained customer service operations by enabling human advisors to deal only with more complex issues when required.

Personalisation of ad placement and creation with the power of AI

According to a study conducted by Marketing Insider Group and Onespot, 78% of US internet users said personally relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent. With this in mind, an increasing number of operators throughout the travel industry are adopting AI solutions that can quickly optimise ad creative and messaging based on performance against various target segments and audiences.

Whether it is displaying ads with the most appropriate images and text likely to trigger interest within a defined demographic, or strategically changing ads on-the-fly in order to display alternative flights, carriers, destinations, etc., AI and machine-learning algorithms working in the background are able to optimise experiences allowing companies to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time.

AI is helping to bring the travel industry into the new digital era

As is the case across numerous other industries, the advancement of AI is bringing major change to those in the business of travel. Whether AI algorithms are being used to answer customer support questions, personalise website designs, or place and create ad content, they are ultimately helping to bring much needed efficiencies and to ensure that, as much as possible, the journey to booking a holiday is as painless as the holiday itself. 

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