Challenges & Opportunities In Adopting AI In Travel And Tourism Sector

Nishant Pitti, CEO, EaseMyTripEaseMyTrip is one of India's online travel company which provides Air-Tickets, Hotel Bookings, Bus Booking & Holiday Packages and White Label Services

Travel is changing every aspect of our lives but travelling also has changed a lot the way it used to be. At present, travelers have different expectations from their trip as they don't want to compromise on comfort, convenience, and price.

Leisure travelers seek to make their experiences unique and business travelers don't want any fuss on their trip. Artificial intelligence (AI) is making the traditional travel industry fulfilling these new expectations. Using artificial intelligence, OTAs are making recommendations when travelers are looking for holiday destinations. These recommendations are based on previous bookings of the travelers. How-ever, there are several challenges of artificial intelligence.

AI has Bugs & It Needs to be Fully Explored
Artificial intelligence is a new technology and there are still bugs that everyone needs to work upon. Travel industry leaders are yet to discover this technology fully. There will be noteworthy changes when this technology grows and matures. So, travel and tour operators are hesitant about implementing it within their business. Artificial intelligence technology needs lots of research before you consider and understand this for implementing within a tour company.

Different Development Approach
The traditional travel systems environment used to follow the general phases like analyze, design, test, plan and organize but the environment of AI is totally different. AI development is mostly about recognizing data sources and then collecting content and filtering it. This kind of approach needs different skills and mindsets, along with exclusive methodologies. Additionally, AI-powered intellectual systems are trained in a particular domain. So, it finally results in a platform that can give feedback and supervise. But the travel and tourism sector is not all about these. Travelers have several queries and curiosities that need to be satisfied with personalized answers. So, travel agents assuring for personalized trips can't be solely dependent on AI.

AI Only Predicts & Needs Lots of Data
Artificial intelligence needs data to learn things and it guesses everything based on the behavior patterns on a particular system and is able to speedily become accustomed to develop the accuracy of the conclusions derived from analyzing that data. Mostly, first, you get the data then you get the AI. So, if
you don't have a huge amount of data or information, systems based on AI won't give the required results. If you are running a travel company, it is not necessary that you will get extremely balanced data. So, the system can be based on the data sets fed to them. This sometimes becomes challenging for OTAs to give the required information to the right customers.

No Clear View on the Generation of Insights
Artificial intelligence development hides in its experimental nature. So, it is really difficult to calculate improvement it can bring for any travel company. You will be also unable to predict ROI. So, it's really hard to understand the whole concept of AI. To optimize any result, a skilled team is always required that will choose the right algorithm for the essential result.

Travel industry can utilize the huge amount of data supplied through AI to make it more convenient for them to grab new customers

Responsibility & Privacy
For the online travel industry, technology is very important. In case of any hardware or software malfunction, it will be very difficult to determine that whose fault was this. Prior to AI, it was relatively easy to conclude whether it happened due to any user, developer or manufacturer. Since AI works on data, there are chances that companies may try getting into uncharted territory and cross privacy boundaries. So, adopting AI by a travel agency can lead it into data theft.

However, it's not that there are only challenges in adopting AI in the travel & tourism sector. It has also brought several opportunities for this industry. Here below are some opportunities that AI is offering for travel and trade business.

Making Recommendations
Data-driven recommendation tools are adopted by OTAs that help the users in receiving recommendations based on their previous searches or bookings. For ex: Google flights can suggest the travelers cheaper travel times and cheaper airports based on destination. Kayak can provide the map view of an area displaying prices of hotels and popular. It will also help you find out destinations for eating, sightseeing, shopping, and nightlife in a city.

Convenient Transportation
Using big data, some cities are working to ensure that their natives and tourists coexist peacefully. For example, Barcelona tracks the movement of the traffic in the city to place rideshare bicycles where they are required in maximum number. A city has developed an app to help the travelers finding hidden gems in the less crowded areas of the city. It will help in boosting tourism to those sites and decrease jam in the city. Ride-sharing services have also redefined services in several ways using AI.

Easy Forms of AI are Simple to Implement
Several simple forms of artificial intelligence are there to be executed into any tour company. It makes convenient for the travel agents to take advantage of technology like chatbots. It is one of the simplest and most cost-effective forms of artificial intelligence. It not only responds to the questions and feedback of customers but also improves overall communication strategy.

Analyze Large Data
Travel industry can utilize the huge amount of data supplied through AI to make it more convenient for them to grab new customers. By reforming the data analysis process, a tour company can better use that data to make decisions about their business strategy. Additionally, data analysis can provide tour and activity operators the solution to proficiently personalizing the experience a tourist seeks while enjoying an activity.

With the rise of new technology, every sector will keep facing the consequences. The travel industry is no exception. However, combining AI with intelligent personalization can give good results. This way, travel companies will be able to plan that holiday you have always dreamed of.