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Fast insights for travel and hospitality

Fast insights for travel and hospitality
Thought Leadership 8min

Fast insights for travel and hospitality

Elizabeth P. Morgan, Co-founder and CMO of Market Logic Software, was joined by Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel & Tourism Research at Euromonitor International and Rahul Tongia, VP AI Engineering at Market Logic Software to discuss speed to insights in the travel and hospitality sector. Read on for a summary of how much has changed since the last webinar 11 months ago.

Harnessing digital disruption for success

Online travel has been a major disruptor. It accounts for billions of additional revenue in travel every year and enables greater facilitation of travel as well. It’s no surprise that rates of online travel sales are high, especially in Australasia and North America.

Last year, international tourist arrivals grew by nearly 6% to 1.4 billion. Travel will continue to grow: by 2030, 76% of the world will be connected to the internet. The industry has started to simplify the travel process by using biometric data, which will lead to even more trips taken.

Looking at digital transformation in action

Digital transformation can come in many shapes and sizes – and it’s not just global brands that are transforming. Small independent producers and suppliers are going paperless or moving to new systems for their ventures. They are tackling business problems using technology and applying it holistically across the business while maintaining a consumer-centric mindset.

Seamless travel

Seamless travel is the combination of speed, comfort, personalization and efficiency, and it’s what everyone in the travel industry is striving for. Travel and hospitality presents the opportunity to address the many potential pain points across the customer journey.

Curb to gate biometrics

77% of airports and 71% of airlines are planning to research or invest in biometric identification management. Aruba Happy Flow is one such example: it provides smooth passage through the airport with multi-stakeholder interoperability. Using facial recognition technology, passengers can walk straight from the curb to the plane, and only have to show their passports once.

“AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on. It is more profound than electricity or fire.” – Google CEO Sundar Pichai

We are just at the beginning with AI. According to McKinsey, AI could potentially have a 15% impact on travel in terms of value creation. The capabilities of AI and machine learning are growing at unprecedented levels. Improved sales and marketing functionality, personalized messaging to ensure greater conversion and reduce churn.

The customer journey is linked to IoT

By 2030, 76% of the global population will be online – and not just on their smartphones. The Internet of Things means that devices, such as wearables, cars, households, hotel rooms, etc. will all be talking to each other, using data from 76% of the world’s population.

“By 2030, 76% of the global population will be online. That means data from 76% of the world’s population will be at our fingertips.”Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International

The internet is already intrinsically linked to the customer journey :

  • 83% of people research online before travelling
  • 48% book online
  • 36% book day trips at their destination
  • 88% access online information during their trip

Disruption has become the new normal

The travel and hospitality industry has to be agile and run with new developments, and it has to take a more consumer-centric view. Biometrics (“selfies for seamless travel”) help us hone in on the individual and help them move seamlessly through the airport. AI is only at the beginning of its potential for continued, exponential disruption in the travel and hospitality industry.

Speed to insight

Seamlessness is all well and good for travellers, but what about seamlessness for the insights profession? Insights professionals are expected to stay on top of the ever-increasing amount of data that disruptions and developments in the travel and hospitality industry create, but it simply isn’t humanly possible – especially with the massive amount of IoT data headed their way.

Using AI, Market Logic’s Insights Platform creates a knowledge graph that connects all of the unstructured data and the structured data into one model that reflects the fundamentals of the marketplace, which they call The Market Logic ®.

For example, The Market Logic ® understands that travellers with similar behaviours can be grouped in segments, which are served by competing destinations and hospitality services. The Market Logic® also understands that not all data is created equally: a report from Euromonitor, for example, is more valuable than a single guest feedback comment.

The Market Logic® uses both a push and pull function to get the right insights to the right place at the right time. For push, AI personalizes and pushes relevant news to different stakeholders in the organization, depending on their interests, on an easy to use news dashboard.

So if a hotel manager is interested in guest satisfaction, they will see news and information about outstanding new guest experiences, while a product manager hunting for new destinations will see news and updates about that kind of content specifically. For pull, an AI search experience allows anyone to search and get instant answers from all of the data and research without having to read hundreds of pages.

Q&A

The webinar wrapped up with some in-depth questions. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Has Euromonitor seen a change in the demand for research or the types of research requests received?

Yes. There has been an increase in requests for integrating real-time data, and the need to move to more tactical data. To respond to those requests, Euromonitor is launching a new, more tactical product based on consumer pricing that will be regularly updated.

  • Does Market Logic work with quantitative data, and how is it integrated into the model?

Market Logic works with both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data tells you what is happening, and the qualitative data contains the whys.

  • Does Market Logic teach the machine skills so it can understand different types of questions? What kinds of data sources need to be looked at to answer the question?

By default, the machines know a lot about marketing – they are trained with marketing terms, and the AI is purpose built for insights managers. Then the industry-specific terms are added.

  • What have the biggest changes been over the past year?

The biggest change continues to be following the consumer, and being where they are.
There has also been a shift to experiences: curated, personalized, and seamless experiences. Sustainability is also important – the backlash against plastics has been embraced by the travel industry as well.

  • Will chatbots come help insights professionals as well?

Chatbots, particularly voice chatbots, have made search much more intuitive than traditional input-based searches. They present a paradigm shift in user interfaces. In the future, chatbots will be able to push information to the user to help them be more proactive in making decisions and taking action.

  • Why should I trust AI results, especially with the rise of “fake AI”?

One way to make sure we can trust AI is to give the user full control and transparency over why a machine is providing a particular answer. When a user receives an insight, they are also exposed to its source.

  • How do you think the current Brexit discussions and deliberations are going to impact the world of travel and hospitality?

In terms of inbound travel to the UK, the weakened pound has had a positive impact. However, the latest data from the IPS shows that there was uncertainty in the European core market, and that people are putting off travel to the UK. Uncertainty impacts the UK outbound market as well, which is concerning for many destinations around the world.

  • Disruption continues. Is it getting harder to be an insights professional these days? What advice would you give to insights professionals to get a grip on all this change and disruption?

Euromonitor’s clients are planning out five to ten years in advance, and combining their strategic long-term mindset with tactical approaches. It’s important to try to find the best tool for your business and leverage the best technology.

Market Logic, for example, is so curated and personalized, and we are lucky to have such amazing tools to help you find results for your business. Market Logic brings all the tools that insights professionals need onto one platform.

  • Is technology making it easier for insights professionals to deal with all the data in their work?

We are currently facing lots of new types of data challenges. Despite the challenges, true insights come when data is connected together so it can be used effectively.

The number of channels will just continue to grow. For insights professionals, there is gold in leveraging this data correctly. And if you use technologies like AI well, you have a big advantage over those who don’t.

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