Blog: The Next Paradigm Shift: How AI is helping bring the Human Touch back to the world of Travel
Mahesh Chaddah, co-founder of Reservations.com discusses how his team and the industry in general, is innovating to bring back AI-powered human touch and personalize every interaction with today’s highly demanding traveler.
The emerging trend in experiential travel, has created a demand for obsessively detailed personalization, acutely relevant recommendations and insider access. To support this trend, the travel industry has seen a rise in human-machine interfaces made possible by embedding AI-augmented tech and machine-learning. The solutions broadly aim at automating common consumer use cases with the help of chatbots and natural language processing engines.
Although effective, such solutions often lack the cognitive intelligence and intangible services typically offered by traditional travel agents in niche areas. “To bridge the gap, at Reservations.com we’re investing in empowering our travel advisors with AI-powered tech and deliver personalized human touch at scale.” said Mahesh Chaddah, co-founder of Reservations.com. “We have worked with products like the WayBlazer Travel Graph that ingests and extracts key information from a multitude of content sources to develop a frame of travel intelligence that helps agents make most relevant recommendations.” Chaddah elaborates. With each iteratively complex search, the machine-learning models to get smarter.
Along similar lines, Lola, a company started by Kayak co-founder Paul English, has developed an app that combines AI with human travel agents to plan, book and manage trips. Similarly, Hilton and IBM have piloted “Connie”,
a Watson-enabled hotel concierge robot. Connie helps automate and simplify countless travel decisions. According to IBM, Connie draws on domain knowledge from Watson and WayBlazer to inform guests on hotel features, amenities, dining and attractions. AI-powered travel-as-a-service platform Mezi (now acquired by American Express) brings automation to advanced corporate travel workflows. Mezi’s chatbots claim to handle more than 60 percent of conversations initiated by business travelers. Their proprietary Travel Genome technology runs a series of machine learning algorithms to deliver results based on traveler profile and preferences.
The application of AI-powered solutions extends beyond the planning, recommendation and book phases well into proactive support by predicting problems and identify timely solutions. Generation Z has a short attention span which makes it ever so important to leverage AI into travel products.