Handing over key business decisions to machines will require a huge amount of trust in the ability of automated processes to make the right calls for businesses.
Delegates at today’s Travel Technology Europe trade show at Olympia, London, heard that the future will revolve around advanced machine learning and applied Artificial Intelligence.
Luke Francis, product manager at travel technology provider Inspiretec, said emerging technologies are capable of using trends analysis to make automated real-time yield management decisions.
But he said: “This is really advanced technology and what comes is confidence to allow machines to make decisions for you. It takes a huge amount of trust to allow machines to do that.”
Francis said conversation interfaces are set to revolutionise how customers engage with brands and how they can provide a more personalised service.
He said this could ultimately lead to not just personalised product recommendations but personalised pricing options based on what is know about the customer’s propensity to spend.
Inspiretec is developing a proof of concept of ‘intelligent app’ technology that will tailor the experience based on the individual.
This will use data about personal preferences and interests to tailor the content and the products offered to each client.
Francis set out a number of “things to avoid” for firms looking to get into personalisation.
He advised firms to not do personalisation without a cause. “This is the number one issue when companies take on projects,” he said.
“You have to generate a business case. There’s no point doing this and just seeing how it goes. There is significant investment that goes into technology like this.”
The second issue Francis picked out was inaccuracy, not of the recommendations that are produced but of the raw data. He said it was vital the data was right at the start.
Francis also warned about the over- and under-use of business logic. “It’s about getting the right balance between getting the system to go off and do what it wants and betting some rules in there.”
Travel firms should also beware “creepy marketing” or over-personalisation. “There is a sweet spot between doing nothing and ‘we are following you and know your address,” said Francis.
Finally all businesses must be compliant with privacy and data rules, particularly with the new GDPR EU regulations due to come in on May 25.
Francis said firms that do this successfully will create a single customer view, start small and measure key performance indicators to build trust in the system overt time.
And he said the people in the business that are most likely to benefit should be empowered. “Do not leave it to the IT department.
“It’s really the marketing department that will get most benefit from this type of tool. Our job is to help them.”