The days of journeying to a travel agency and sitting at the desk of an agent just to book a trip have all but disappeared, but technology is increasingly putting that level of personalized service in the palms of our hands.
A number of travel apps have begun to incorporate artificial intelligence, technology that allows machines to analyze large amounts of data and “learn” on their own, according to Greg Oates, senior editor at travel site Skift. The technology can help machines outperform traditional search engines and real humans (including travel agents) in speed and efficiency, he said. “The holy grail for travel brands today is personalizing the guest experience,” he said. “Artificial intelligence really helps with that because it can crunch so much data and connect dots around users so much faster than traditional search.”
Of course, hotels and travel apps have long used algorithms to adjust prices and offer vacation packages. But artificial intelligence allows these search engines and apps to go a step further by gleaning more information on your online behavior and building a more complex profile of users by (in theory, at least) anticipating their needs, said consumer travel advocate Christopher Elliott. “They keep getting smarter and smarter and the only thing you have to do is give them permission, which often means giving them access to all your personal data and telling them what you need and want,” he said. “But if you do you might save a lot of money.”
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