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How AI, data, and machine learning will change how you manage business travel

3 min
Posted: 15 September 2020

What a difference a year makes. 2017 continued to be about mobile, with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) adding a new dimension to mobile computing. Mobile platforms also saw the widespread development and availability of online booking tools and apps. As 2018 comes to a close, artificial intelligence (AI), the ability of machines to think and make human-like decisions, remains a cutting-edge technology. Along with machine learning (ML) and big data (e.g., data analytics and data lakes), it’s enough to make your head spin.

Let’s talk about why this is relevant to you. Emerging technologies have the potential to make business travel easier, smarter, and more insights-driven for the business traveler and the travel manager. Business travelers are consumers too. Influenced by consumer technologies, they expect the same kind of simple, intuitive mobile experience in every context. Where does the corporate travel industry stand today? What’s possible now? And what can you, as a travel manager, expect in the next few years?

You ask, we answer. We’ve been covering technology and business travel in a series of blogs that demystifies new technologies and lets you know how it’s likely to impact you and your travelers.

  • The power of data: The new corporate currency? Business travel providers are experimenting with the use of predictive analytics (a variant of AI) to guide strategic investments. In the corporate travel industry, where an exceptional traveler experience is crucial to success, data is the new currency.
  • Why data visualization is worth millions of dollars: Data is an increasingly potent tool at the negotiation table. And, forecasting and optimizing for the future is what data analysis is all about – whether you’re trying to predict the next World Cup winner or determine next quarter’s budget.
  • On demand: Artificial intelligence in business travel: It’s increasingly evident AI has a growing impact on the evolution of business travel. From enabling a host of contextual and transactional algorithms, to curating relevant responses and solutions, AI has the potential to revolutionize and elevate the business travel industry.
  • Machine learning: Think you know what personalized means? Think again. Machine learning will build a highly-personalized experience for your travelers based on their previous travel experiences and preferences. In some applications, ML will be aided by natural language processing. The traveler will simply be able to tell their app or computer what to do. That’s not to say a travel manager won’t be involved – you’ll need to continue to use tools to guide your travelers towards efficient in-policy decisions.
  • Duty of care and technology: Emerging technology has the potential to revolutionize how we deal with travel disruption. In some cases, AI and ML, along with location services, may be able to prevent the disruption entirely. How much would your travelers love it if that was the case?
  • Virtual reality (VR): Now relatively common, VR enables users to visualize a physical space or experience in a simulated 3D interface. Think about what that means. You could give a traveler a remote tour of various hotels before they select one or help them navigate an unfamiliar airport or transportation route.

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