Travo Summit 2016: Bots will help travel firms go global instantly, says SDL

Travo Summit 2016: Bots will help travel firms go global instantly, says SDL

Artificial intelligence will help firms go global faster in different languages by creating tailor-made websites and generating millions of user reviews and marketing copy.

That is was the prediction from SDL account director Kevin Ashbridge, who delivered a workshop in internationalisation at the Travolution Summit.

He said by replacing humans’ jobs with machines, travel companies can access new markets at speed, adapting to new languages, brands and platforms.

“There’s a lot of people involved in processes,” said Ashbridge. “Whenever you have people involved it’s slowing things down.

“If you aim to replace them with robots and take humans out then you are well on your way to going global faster.”

By using a bank of key information about hotels, for instance, Ashbridge suggested customers will find what they want quicker on companies’ websites.

He said that by creating one centralised bank of content, and putting in place the AI to automatically translate language, format data for the right device and filter by customer preferences, global companies will see a “sea change” in performance.

“You then start to see your websites global reach and see them take on a personality of their own,” added Ashbridge. “They are then fundamentally operating as different businesses.”

Emirates was able to create 30 localised websites in just eight weeks.

Content is layered so that, for instance, Swiss browsers can access the same content as English or Chinese customers, and opt for both French or German.

The content is pulled in automatically from a centralised hub, saving human time and effort – and cost – and ensuring a standardised outcome.

Ashbridge said one of SDL’s clients, the Gulf carrier Emirates, was able to create 30 localised websites in just eight weeks.

“Automation is the key thing,” he said. “There’s no more copying and pasting out of documents. What was a process of 35 different steps for humans becomes six steps with automation.”

The idea means the less technical but more time-consuming work can be done by machines which, in theory, creates more time for human employees to do technical work such as the legal and creative side of the business.

Machines could also be employed to write the bulk of marketing copy too, said Ashbridge, using natural language generation to create automatically generated text that describes what facilities hotels have, such as Wi-Fi or a 24-hour concierge.

Ashbridge even claimed this approach will also work for user reviews because “everyone writes the same things”.

“You don’t write about having an argument but you do say ‘pool was good’, or ‘reception was bad’,” he said.

“Soon we won’t need to talk about going global faster,” he concluded. “You’ll be able to go global instantly.”

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