Traveling is one of the pleasures of life. The crowds, the queues or the delays suppose, nevertheless, one of the brakes to obtain that the fact of traveling supposes an inspiration and turns, on the contrary, into something less pleasant. Artificial intelligence and machine learning They can be of great help to improve the travel experience.
"We work so that the machine learning serve to eliminate the points of friction of customers when traveling, "explains EL PAÍS Retina Rodrigo Acuña, head of AI Research of Amadeus, leading provider of technology for the travel sector. "We work in many segments of the travel experience, such as airlines, airports, agencies and hotels, and that is why we can be present throughout what we in the industry call passenger journey, the passenger experience map. "
The key to the whole process, says the manager, resides in "understanding what motivates each person to search and book a specific trip." Why is it important to understand this? Because here lies the key to improving your move from start to finish and build long-term relationships with the user in a saturated industry.
Technology is key when facing this complexity, since it allows modeling, testing and even anticipating the behavior of travelers. For this, Amadeus divides the user experience into four different blocks.
Amadeus can determine the five most relevant and preferred travel solutions for the user
The first is known as inspiration (inspiration). It is the moment in which the user decides the trip he is going to undertake and prepares to carry out the necessary reservations. "For a flight between Madrid and New York there are many combinations of routes or prices, among other factors," explains Acuña. "Amadeus, through the systems of machine learningFor example, it can determine the five most relevant and probably preferred user solutions for travel. In addition, we can recommend the best price for selling a ticket, taking into account not only the supply and demand, but also the particularities of each type of customer. "
The second step of this process is that of the reservation (booking). At this point, the companies, mainly the airlines, try not only to bill the ticket, but other additional products, the so-called ancillary services (auxiliary services) such as transfers to destination, luggage, products on board or travel insurance. Amadeus has systems to optimize the sale of these auxiliary services. In addition, it is innovating with algorithms powered by machine learning with the aim of improving product recommendations, making them more relevant and personalized.
- From boarding to landing
In third place is what is known as in trip. This is an extremely sensitive moment, given that it occurs when the visitor is in full swing. Through the system 'Departure Control System', airlines can manage the boarding of passengers as well as the takeoff of the plane. According to Acuña, Amadeus has recently complemented this system thanks to new machine learning algorithms, capable of estimating the weight of the luggage so that airlines can appropriately decide the amount of fuel and charge several hours before takeoff.
Finally, when the traveler has returned (probably reluctantly) home, he often recommends his trip through social networks or on platforms designed for that purpose, such as TripAdvisor. Machine learning systems, together with natural language processors (capable of converting what we humans speak or write into something understandable by machines) have the potential to process and synthesize recommendations for companies to improve their offers in the future.
Currently, Amadeus is closely studying three key issues in terms of innovation and travel.
No stress travel. Traveling is stressful, however much we like it. "We work so that it ceases to be", says Rodrigo Acuña, head of AI Research at Amadeus. "Delays, destinations that speak another language, etc. There's a lot of stress when you're looking. "
End to end travel. "Traditionally we think about the plane and the hotel," says Acuña. "But now, in reality, half of the money you spend on your destination (restaurants, public transport, shows). We work to solve the problems that arise and so that tourists can spend more time enjoying their destination than the trip "
Empowered traveler. "We were inspired by the user experience we have today in different online services," says Rodrigo Acuña. Thanks to the apps, the user can personalize the travel experience more and more, taking control in each phase of the process. "Users have many expectations about what technology can do for them," says Acuña. "We want to translate these expectations into the world of travel to achieve the same experience as in retail: more transparency, more flexibility."