The conversation around Artificial Intelligence is usually associated with the diminishing of jobs and the need for new skills leave alone adaptation to changing times. But sitting down with a friend last week I got puzzled after hearing her complain the way Dubai has changed and is almost a robotic country due to automation. Her issue was that overall the country is losing the human touch since travellers are met with machines and other AI-enabled systems which perform basic tasks that were performed by humans.
All I could say is blame it on the fourth industrial revolution because that is the age we are in now. Aside from robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are now changing aspects of our lives and also the internet of things as well.
Artificial intelligence is an exponential trend and considering that it will continue to change our environment I had to find out the ways it is already disrupting the travel industry. Check out: disruptive trends in health care.
- Administrative and customer service tasks
In the business world, AI is making waves as the best thing since sliced bread. This is because, with AI especially in the travel industry, companies can perform a variety of customer service tasks that would’ve required human input. Google assistant comes to mind as an example to showcase this concept. Just like you interact with google assistant via speech or your keyboard, with the help of AI activities that require human intelligence can be performed with ease, fast and with no error.
As much as my friend would complain that the human touch is diminishing, we can’t refute that hotels or businesses taking advantage of AI stand a higher chance of building a solid reputation and excellent customer service. For instance, AI provides a more tailored service, fast responses and personalization even with no staff present.
Not only does this free human reps from the pressure of tackling tough issues but it means that a difference in time zone is no longer an issue when it comes to responding to clients.
If you’ve had an experience with chatbots you’ve probably realised that they deliver and give responses on online platforms even during closed business hours.
- Data processing and analysis
While the use of AI is leveraged most in providing excellent administrative and customer care services, artificial intelligence is also effective in recording data and emulating patterns. In the travel industry, AI is used to sort out customer reviews, feedback, polls and surveys. This can help a hotel or a resort get a clearer picture of current opinions and what the customers would prefer. This makes it easier to predict trends giving businesses in the travel or tourism industry that edge and upper hand when it comes to offering customers the best experiences.
The Hen-na hotel in Nagasaki is an exciting example as it is the world first hotel that is staffed with robots. Tourists get information from the information robot and the front desk robot provides intelligent communication. There’s a cloak robot to store your belongings and face recognition systems which check you in and prevent the loss of your key.
- Virtual reality
Providing an out of the world experience, virtual reality is currently being used in the travel industry to enable people to get the experience of a room even before they book it. This facilitates informed decisions in terms of the size of the room one would like to get. Hotels are now using technology to provide tourists with a virtual experience of local destinations and sites.
Another variation is the augmented reality which enhances the users surrounding with information and graphic overlays. Instead of changing the surroundings as VR does AR just enhances the real world
- Internet of things
We cannot talk about AI without mentioning the internet of things. The travel industry is taking advantage of this technology in order to cut costs and save on energy. The smart energy systems can automatically regulate the power/lightbulbs during daytime or switch off heating systems when a room is unoccupied. In the same way, they can also optimize a room’s temperature before the guest arrives.
Speaking of AI, Microsoft reports that Artificial Intelligence is to play a key role in Africa’s economic growth and democracy. Find out how.
Featured image via connectspeakersbureau