Despite detailed searching and planning, even the best laid travel plans can go wrong. If a flight is cancelled, travelers require near-instant information to complete their journey. If they can’t find it at the airport, they need someone to call 24/7. For travel companies, new technologies have raised traveler expectations but also offer new opportunities to stand out from the crowd. So how can travel companies innovate to offer the best service possible?
At Amadeus, we have identified 4 innovative technologies that we feel hold the most potential in this scenario.
Smarter searches mean better conversion
In a world where we have become accustomed to tailored offers, customers crave customization and personalization. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to inspire more effectively and sell personalized products to travellers at each stage of the journey.
Machine Learning initiatives will allow travel sellers to optimize advertising campaigns for specific destinations, based on how likely the viewer is to book. By reaching the right audiences, with hyper-relevant products that enhance the customer experience, travel companies can stay relevant. It is no longer possible to differentiate on price alone.
Connecting the dots for a complete trip
Travel sellers and travel providers, such as airlines and hotels, are increasingly looking to sell beyond their core product and offer dining, local attractions, ground transportation and sightseeing tours. However this ‘extended content’ is not easy to provide as it involves different modes of transport and information on hotel, ground and destination services.
Using big data analytics, these services can easily be personalised to the individual traveller. For example, if a couple were booking a trip to Paris over Valentine’s weekend, they could be offered a luxury private taxi to their hotel, and a pair of discounted tickets for a romantic twilight trip to the Eiffel Tower. However, the content needs to be available to all players so it can be searched, packaged and sold to the customer.
Our vision is to bolster the content we offer, leading to better recommendations and packages for the traveler. We have already integrated new content with partners such as Viator and City Discover, providing customers with access to much richer destination information.
Unblocking the pain points of the customer journey
Blockchain is a secure public and distributed digital ledger which records information. We see this technology having multiple potentially important applications for the travel industry. For example, it could unify points accrued from membership and loyalty programs; smart contracts will speed up bookings; traveler identification can be enhanced to make moving through the airport easier; it could help with baggage tracking; and be used to better facilitate international payments.
Working with Civic, a US based startup that is working in the field of ID management verification, Amadeus hopes to bring one of these use cases to life. Earlier this year we signed a partnership with Civic to test the use of Blockchain for ID verification.
Despite its obvious benefits, the decentralized nature of Blockchain means collaboration between different partners in the travel industry is key to its success. As such, we expect widespread adoption to be five or more years away. This is why we are focused on experimentation through a collaborative hands-on approach.
New ways of communication
Clear, consistent and easily available communication channels are very important for the modern traveler. New types of messaging platforms can enhance communication with travelers throughout their trip. For business travelers, this means improving both duty of care and productivity, and providing peace of mind for them and the companies they work for.
Chatbots can deliver tailored recommendations, like nearby restaurants or favorite shops, to help improve the travel experience in real time. With corporate chat app Slack, Amadeus is working on an advanced pilot that allows business travelers to book and pay for these types for activities. Adding or requesting to expense something through Slack is already available.
New technologies may have heightened traveler expectations. However, they’ve also provided a wealth of new opportunities for the travel industry to provide better travel experiences than ever before. Those who succeed will find a way to combine technological innovation with the creativity to provide new ways of experiencing travel.