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Amadeus

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The technology behind better business travel

Marion Mesnage

Head of Research, Innovation and Ecosystems, Amadeus

English
English
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I’m a very frequent traveler. Whether for business or pleasure, I’m almost constantly on the road. Most of the time I enjoy it but, I also know travel can be stressful. Whether it’s a delayed flight, lost luggage, endless lines…there is quite some room for improvement for travel providers worldwide to provide stress-free travel.

In our latest research: ‘Business traveler well-being: How to keep your employees healthy, happy and productive when they travel for work’  we looked into the topic of traveler well-being and some of the challenges and stress points faced by business travelers. We also explored how travel providers such as Amadeus can make travel a smoother, faster and more enjoyable experience powered by technology.  

According to our research, mislaid baggage is one of the key stress factors for business travelers and, based on a study conducted by SITA, international IT provider to the industry that monitors global baggage handling, a total of 25 million bags were mishandled just in 2018. This is an area that airports and airlines are increasingly looking into, especially considering IATA’s 753 resolutionon baggage tracking which requires airlines to track baggage at four key points in their journey.

With this in mind, our research and innovation team started collaborating with the airport, airlines and one of the leading Internet of Things (IoT) providers, Sigfox, to track the containers used to transfer luggage on and off aircraft.

IoT allows the geo-location of objects through embedded sensors that send and receive data. Combining this with our Baggage Reconciliation System, used by ground handlers, airlines and airports, can automatically know the location of the baggage anywhere in the world.

Location is priority

Talking about geolocation, we found that seeking the most suitable location is critical for business travelers. After price, this was one of the top criteria for accommodation. Here, technology like geotagging can help travelers get more accurate information about the places they are going to visit.

Taking this forward, we invested in a start-up called Avuxi as part of our Ventures program. It analyses and ranks geolocated comments, photos and reviews from millions of users and rates the popularity of every place on the planet. It shows the most popular areas within a city through easy-to-understand heat maps for quick traveler discoverability. Another start-up, GeoSure, which joined our Explore program, uses big data, crowd-sourced reporting and geo-spatial intelligence to develop a global standard for scoring. It enables travelers to establish safety scores across 35,000 locations worldwide.

Seamless identification at each step

Repeatedly proving your identity throughout the travel journey can be frustrating for any traveler. From booking, check-in, baggage drop, security check, lounge access, flight-boarding to hotel check-ins as well as renting a car; business travelers have to present their identification at every step of the way. Many players across the travel industry are trying to address this issue. Several countries have also implemented eVisas for inbound travelers over the last couple of years, yet one out of 1,000 travelers arrive at the airport without the visa documentation they need.

Our approach is more traveler-centric! It is to provide end-to-end interoperability between non-travel ID players and travel actors, to bridge the gap between air and non-air digital and physical touchpoints. For example, we collaborated with Sherpa, now a member of our Explore program, which developed a platform to process e-file visa applications. It outlines everything travelers need to know before going through customs. On the other hand, biometrics and AI are also opening several doors in the world of traveler identification. Just last year we collaborated with Lufthansa to board an A380 in about 20 minutes, thanks to biometric technology.

AI the new frontier

We are constantly looking at the power of AI to better serve travelers. For example, chatbots for booking, support and disruption management. Natural Language Processing and cognitive services to identify business travel plans for booking flights and hotels. We are also employing AI to develop a recommendations engine that provides hyper-contextualized services. For example, Feasy, powered by our Ambient Services, acts like a digital travel concierge that will only push the best-qualified service from an ecosystem of travel and non-travel providers.

The travel industry today generates huge volumes of data. Using Machine Learning algorithms, we can identify patterns based on a series of factors, much like how a set of symptoms helps doctors diagnose a disease. On the other hand, unsupervised learning algorithms can detect anomalies which trigger alerts when some of the data become suspicious. With AI, we can better predict and recover from disruptions – big or small – which will ultimately reduce stress factors when traveling.

We embrace cutting-edge technology and are exploring new areas, start-ups and companies that can help us better serve travelers, ultimately embedding “peace of mind” into the travel journey. 

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Tags

Business Travel, Traveler Experience