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The value of artificial intelligence and blockchain in the travel sector

Wednesday 18 April 2018 | 01:13 PM CET

ShoppingTomorrow, a Netherlands-based company, has published their research’s findings on AI and blockchain in the travel sector. 

The company connected a team of more than 600 experts in 27 focus groups, who worked on compiling knowledge on several important subjects in online commerce, from B2B commerce to data management. 

The travel industry is one of the most turbulent industries internationally. An industry that is always striving to use technology for optimisation and conversion. The travel sector has reached a point where, in order to survive, companies either need to be very large or use technology to differentiate themselves from the pack. How can artificial intelligence and blockchain further the travel industry?

The travel sector is characterised by disruptive business models; thanks to the wide range of new technologies one can easily find a niche that has not been catered to. Newcomers from the digital space are fighting for top positions in the customer journey. These players have gained a strong position since the introduction of online booking. Relevant offers and ease-of-use are consistently the most important necessities for companies to be on top.

The role of new technologies

Large players are starting to see the potential of technologies like AI and blockchain. Both technologies are in the lift, both are growing due to the emergence of large data. According to the expert group, AI can impact the travel sector in two ways:

  • Cost reduction, especially because AI automises processes that used to be done by people, e.g. room service robots or check-in droids.

  • Improved offering towards the customer by taking unsupervised decisions about product buying or experience improvements.

AI and blockchain are both highly versatile technologies that can play a major part in improving personalisation and simplicity. AI expands the business, blockchain challenges existing business models.

Reliable through Blockchain

Blockchain technology provides reliability and completeness of the travellers’ details. Examples of public blockchain projects are still limited and in the experimental phase. Currently, blockchain is already being used to manage hotel capacities. If blockchain systems are successful, this will lead to ecosystems where data can be stored in a decentralised way. This allows for more reliable services and seamless customer journeys.

It does not just improve the offering or the incumbent players, but it can also help the sharing economy flourish. With the abundance of reliable and complete travel details AI systems can truly understand a consumer’s wishes and change the offering accordingly. On top of this, AIs, in their roles as personal assistants and bookers, are rapidly becoming the gatekeepers of the internet.

Teaming up is the key to success

These new technologies influence the travel industry and hold great promise for an even bigger impact. The demand for talent is polarising people with very specific expertises and people with broad skillsets. Companies have to cooperate for anything outside of their specific skillset. These cooperations are not signs of weakness, but rather the key to success. In these alliances people can excel by offering the ideal customer experience together.

Download the bluepaper

Want to read more about the findings of the expert group Travel Tomorrow? Download here their bluepaper ‘Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain; Teaming up is the Key to Success’.