Chatbots topped the list of Artificial Intelligence technologies that travel professionals are most excited about for 2019 in a survey by Travel Technology Europe.
Organisers of the annual London trade show said the results of its poll revealed high levels of optimism about how AI will power more customer interaction and personalised solutions.
Chatbots topped the list of planned investments over the next 12 months followed by automated content (35%), machine learning (32%) and voice recognition (29%).
TTE said this reflects the growing recognition that personalisation and tailored experiences are key within travel marketing.
Sagittarius chief executive and advisory board member for TTE, Paul Stephen, said: “Customers will not tolerate generic, irrelevant marketing.
“Through the use of chat, voice and machine learning, a traveller can look forward to a more interactive and relevant conversation with travel brands that have recognised that, to be successful, they need to embrace these emerging technologies now.”
The TTE poll found evidence that travel professionals are still struggling to find the right systems to help them fulfil customer desires, with booking, reservation and payment systems cited as their most significant technological challenges.
The survey found travel companies plan to increase their technology budgets, with 59% planning to spend more in 2019 than they did in 2018.
A further 34% of respondents indicated that they were willing to spend in excess of £100,000 more on tech compared to 18% in 2018.
David Chapple, TTE show director, said: “Talk to anyone in travel marketing and they’ll all agree that, these days, their job is to deliver travellers with ‘experiences’ – the creation of which relies very much on understanding customers better so that they can offer them tailored, relevant product.
“It’s really exciting to see travel brands embracing AI technology and putting plans in place to implement it within their organisations as opposed to viewing chatbots or virtual assistants for example as passing fads”.
TTE will take place on February 20-21 at Olympia London. A conference programme will feature a number of sessions on AI, including “The Art of the possible – innovation in AI and Machine Learning”, with panellists from ETOA, Inspiretec, Musement and Sonata Software discussing the ways in which these technologies are being deployed in the travel industry at the moment
The full agenda and registrations can be made at traveltechnologyeurope.com