Travel companies have added various technologies at every stage of their journey to improve operational efficiencies and meet customers’ expectations, according to data and analytics company GlobalData. Chatbots, offshoots of AI, are especially prevalent in customer service, programmed to resolve simple issues that previously required the mitigation of a real-time agent.
For example, Chan Brothers Travel’s implementation of a Webchat system on its website has helped to relieve the load on its hotlines and is capable of holding up to 65 per cent of the conversation with customers before requiring human intervention. New Zealand’s Oscar chatbot has reportedly enabled the airline to answer 75 per cent of questions in Australasia, freeing up its customer service agents to focus more on handling complex queries.
Internet of things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices connected by electronics in conversation, and the travel industry has emerged as the frontrunner in IoT spending.
Airlines are using IoT to impove all aspects of the passenger experience, from baggage handling to safety monitoring and checking the efficiency of the planes themselves.
Augmented and Virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies go well with the travel and tourism sector.
VR, which makes users feel as though they are physically present in a digitally created environment, has seen progressive adoption in the travel and tourism industry, with VR headsets becoming a mainstream consumer product in recent years.
VR applications in the travel industry are numerous. Travel companies such as Thomas Cook, Flight Centre and Virgin Holidays are already experimenting with VR in-store to give potential customers tours of the destinations they’re selling.
Shangri-La Hotels was an early adopter of VR in its marketing efforts, rolling out in 2015 Samsung Gear VR headsets across all its global sales offices and produced 360-degree VR tours for its properties worldwide.
Immersive VR experiences are now touted in Asia’s theme parks,
These technologies, while unlikely to replace tourism completely, have potential to improve and inspire travel experiences. Pokemon Go, an AR game promoted by Niantic to get people moving, was used by many tourism authorities to promote their destinations at the height of its popularity.