Greater role for AI in 2018, predicts Egencia

Greater role for AI in 2018, predicts Egencia

Egencia expects artificial intelligence to play an “even greater role” in travel in 2018, following the findings from its fourth Business Travel and Technology Survey.

The business arm of Expedia found that 41% of respondents believe AI will improve their booking experience.

“Messaging, bots, and voice search, all fueled by AI will drive a new wave of search and booking habits going forward”, says Jean Noel Lau Keng Lun, senior director, product marketing, at Egencia.

“We already see this broadly in the leisure travel field and more and more taking over in business travel as well. One example is chat-powered customer service, which we expect to become integral to travel planning. By blending human-and-artificial-intelligence powered technology, travel agencies and services now have the potential to provide travellers with an unprecedented combination of convenience and contextual relevance.”

“Personalisation plays an important role here”, added Lau Keng Lun. “This is where AI provides real value: It can analyse huge amounts of data and determine patterns to give more personalised search results improving the booking experiences. For 2018, we see the need for such technologies to evolve further. AI has already enabled a range of apps, bots and software that bring personalisation to the traveller, making the whole travel process easier and therefore rising satisfaction. But we are still only scratching the surface of what AI can do. “

The survey’s findings also showed that 25% of UK business travellers are now using shared economy lodging services and 44% are considering it. Many are extending their trips to also include a personal holiday, results suggested.

“Blending business and pleasure into multi-purpose trips will influence preferences for hotel and flights,” Lau Keng Lun said. “We see an increasing number of business travellers choosing home-sharing services for a business trip that is extended to a private stay. It gives the opportunity for local and authentic experiences.

“Sharing economy lodging services is a trend that might have started slowly in business travel, but it is here to stay.”

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