How artificial intelligence could inspire your next perfect trip

Rodrigo Acuna Agost

Head of AI Research, Amadeus

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The human brain is unpredictable. We often make choices and decisions that can seem irrational, or don’t follow any obvious pattern. Travel is no different.


People travel for a wide variety of reasons, but rarely to meet a single need or want. The challenge for travel players is to understand what moves and inspires travelers at a deeper level.

In our latest innovation foresight paper, The Importance of Understanding Travelers' Motivation, we discuss this and more. The report also offers ideas on how travel companies can better connect with the changing needs of travelers.

So, what motivates travellers to search and book a particular journey? And why is it important to understand this? Because it's key to building long lasting relationships with customers and standing out in a crowded industry.

And technology can help face this complexity, which is now smarter than ever. Typically artificial intelligence (AI) can enable travel players to better understand, and potentially influence, what a traveler will buy. For instance, it is possible to model and test behavior to better predict travelers’ choices. It can also help us analyze human interaction with a website in real-time and act upon it. We’re currently looking at this at Amadeus through continuous experimentation to identify the travel options travellers most prefer.

Travelers can indeed be influenced by a range of interconnecting, even contradictory considerations. Things like travelers’ reviews and cognitive biases can be influencers. That is why we are conducting in-depth research into these areas, such as the impact of the decoy effect.

Smart customer segmentation can take this one step further. Automated clustering analyzes booking information and different types of travelers, modelling their choices. By combining customer segments with customer choice models, we gain valuable insights. These include understanding what matters in the search and booking process, as well as how to quantify that. Search queries are grouped automatically by similarity, and that is combined with supervised learning, which tells us the likelihood of a search result to be booked. Together, this information amounts to a better in-the round understanding of a customer, enabling real time personalization of the booking options available.

But what about face-to-face interactions with travel agents? Clearly, customers value these bespoke experiences. But that’s not to say that AI can’t become a valuable asset in the travel agents’ toolbox. Why shouldn’t it? By analyzing a traveler’s tone of voice, their vocabulary, even their emotions, the technology can make assumptions about preferences, displaying tailored options for the agent to recommend. This allows the agent to dedicate more personal attention to the traveler.

Ultimately, the hope is that AI will empower travelers to spend less time painstakingly researching and planning their perfect trip, and more time enjoying it. The industry will enjoy better conversion, and the traveler will become even more inspired, finding exactly what they need, at a price that suits them. Thanks to the rate at which AI technology is developing it’s likely that this travel future will become a reality within the next five to ten years. So, don’t delay, start imagining your dream holiday – and let AI make it a reality.

For more, download a copy of The Importance of Understanding Travelers' Motivation here.


Artificial Intelligence