More than half (52%) of business travellers believe artificial intelligence can make business trips safer, research released today reveals.
The use of technologies such as predictive risk alerts around natural disasters, for example, would decrease the risk of business travel.
Another big expectation of AI was that it would be the engine room of a more personalised experience, with three quarters of those polled saying that they believed this would be the case.
Despite this, the research identified a gap between what respondents thought AI should be able to do and their willingness to share data.
The most popular types of data people were prepared to share were email (54%), travel preferences (52%) and their gender (46%).
The data people were reluctant to share included residence (25%), biometrics (27%) and phone number (33%).
The poll covered 527 business travellers in April.
Chris Baker, senior vice president and managing director EMEA North for travel and expense management firm SAP Concur which commissioned the study, said: “Business travellers foresee a lot of potential in how AI can power the next generation of travel. From safety to preference, AI will change the very core of the travel experience for the better.
“And yet, the results reveal a trust issue that could be detrimental to these visions becoming a reality.
“AI systems need data in order to learn. Without data they aren’t able to improve and, at the moment, it seems that people are not willing to share data – biometrics aside – that they happily swap via social platforms on the internet every day of the week.
“Companies building AI systems have to demonstrate that data privacy, protection and governance is at the core of their offering. It’s their responsibility to show they can be trusted because unless they win consumers over, the scope of AI to deliver on user expectations will be fundamentally impinged,” Baker continued.
When asked to imagine that their future business trip was supported by AI, respondents outlined automated travel expensing (23%), automated recommended actions based on events such as flights being cancelled (19%) and personalised recommendations relating to restaurants (18%) as their top three perceived advantages.
Twelve per cent said that they thought chat bots for travel bookings would be beneficial.
This is perhaps not surprising as chat bots were the third type of AI platform that sprung to people’s minds when they thought of AI. First and second were voice assistants (64%) and language-capable robots (50%).
Baker added: “That 92% of respondents indicated that they had already interacted with some form of AI demonstrates how embedded the technology is becoming in everyday life.
“The challenge now is to utilise these platforms in order to deliver tangible benefits to travellers.”