2015 was the year of the internet of things. 2016 was the year of virtual reality. What is in store for 2017?
Suzanna Chiu, Head of Amadeus Ventures, Amadeus IT Group, recently spoke at the Fiturtech event in Madrid where she discussed Amadeus’ innovation partnerships, start-ups and trends for 2017 – most notably artificial intelligence (AI) and the API economy.
Before your thoughts drift to a techno-dystopian landscape – a place where robots are seeking vengeance on their human coinhabitants – think something a lot less sinister and something a lot more multifarious. Rapid advances in AI will have a sweeping impact on many industries and the travel industry is no exception.
As we go beyond data analytics and begin to understand human preferences in all contexts and ecosystems, it will naturally allow travel companies to provide their customers with more personalised experiences. Personalisation and conversion – significant sub-divisions of AI – will be crucial in helping the travel industry evolve along with the development of AI.
One field of AI that particularly excites the travel sector is that of conversational commerce, a place where messaging apps and shopping come together. In this regard, we can use artificial intelligence to understand human language.
The rise of conversational commerce
Over 3 billion people use chat platforms, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, to talk to each other. With messaging apps usage surpassing their social network cousins, it will soon be normal to talk with intangible “beings”, such as a brands and services. And the technology is only getting better.
Within the realm of hospitality, Amadeus has already invested in conversational commerce. Through partnering with Zingle, a software company that helps companies build customer relationships through instantaneous text messaging, we aim to help consumers have a better experience when staying at a hotel. Being able to ask for towels, extra pillows or the Wi-Fi password via text will be in the not so distant future.
Amadeus Ventures has also invested in Evature, a travel intelligence company that is developing an Expert Virtual Agent (EVA) – a tool with pre-trained bots that will act as human travel agents. Evidently, this could shape the travel landscape greatly.
Excitingly, this is just the beginning. In the very nature of the word, innovation is an on-going journey and the adoption of new technology will continue to accelerate. New ideas and technologies are offering great opportunities for travel players to create amazing experiences for both business and leisure travellers. Amadeus have multiple innovation vehicles to keep turning ideas into value-adding solutions for our customers.