Perspective on Frictionless Travel-2

This is the second part of our series on a future perspective on frictionless travel. We explore the increasing use of AI (artificial intelligence) and its potential to disrupt the current travel model status quo. We need to now look at what change is needed and how the use of AI can assist stakeholders to use travel data.

What change is needed? How can stakeholders choose to use data and interactions?

Typically, any customer insights being gathered is done in data silos, to support the travel service providers’ operational groups. Most of the value is generated and converted into marketing functions, such as, awareness, consideration or attempts at “converting” to some sort of sale. This is done almost exclusively on an interrupt basis, and considered spam by customers. Little, if any, data from these silos is used to provide customers with an improved frictionless travel experience.

Loyalty drivers are also “predicated” on marketing driven opportunities, such as, rooms available to be sold, vacant seats to be filled or inventory to be cleared or reduced.

The real opportunity is to create new value for ALL parties. This is dome by understanding the deeper levels of engagement with customers based on newer data. This data describes their own needs, preferences and is in the context of a trip. The destination, weather, social media trends, friends, family, work and sports interests should all be factored into a real time frame of reference. Time and location are not context.

The marketing influence should react to this “deep learning” view of each customer. It should be based on their unique footprint, not the aggregated data of the many travelers which is then segmented into patterned buckets of marketing profiles.

AI disrupts travel status quo

There are a few companies which we have looked at to understand how to reap the benefits of “collective intelligence”, in real time. The ability to modifying algorithms tuned to new inputs allows AI to be a new ally to brands. In this context, real time needs can be met using new value capture models versus typical fulfillment channels.

This is truly disruptive and an AI based approach to the future of frictionless travel.

A distributed model has been developed, so that an entire industry can benefit from a platform and ecosystem. This enables value to be created for the passenger as a customer.

Brands will interact with the travel ecosystem, becoming more efficient and not spending wasteful money on ads. They will be taking an interest in bidding on real time interaction to meet customer needs.

We expect that fulfillment and distribution partners will engage, understanding the value of the global logistics opportunities. Those that can’t extend beyond linear capabilities will fall away.

A Frictionless Travel / ‘Connected Me’ Service

AI can facilitate the creation of ‘value’. It critically depends on continuously providing value to the customers. These prerequisites are fundamental to success in servicing the global traveler community.

Both the travel service providers and their customers operate in real-time. Customers are mobile and always connected. They are also more demanding and educated. This influences the way in which a travel service provider needs to interact with them. Customers are focused entirely on their own personal activities, demanding that the travel service provider meet their specific TLC needs (time, location and context).

For the travel service provider to better engage with their customers, they need to identify their traveling customers and establish a dialogue with them. This dialogue is well beyond what is available with current location-centric mobile apps or customer rewards programs. Essentially, travel service providers need to have an Integrated Customer Engagement strategy, as depicted below.

Frictionless travel - Connected Me

Travel service providers need this type of customer approach to gain a larger share of the traveler’s travel wallet. Increased traveler spend is the outcome. Travel service providers need to develop the modules and toolsets to support their customers’ different travel-related decisions and provide them with relevant offers at the right time, place and context.

In our next and final segment of our series on ‘A future perspective on Frictionless Travel’, we discuss “Why It Matters.”