Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered recommendation engines combined with an increased level of trust in new technologies will see ‘one-click’ booking capability introduced for business travellers in the next two years.
“This won’t just be a reality, this will be the norm,” says Flight Centre Travel Group’s corporate innovation leader Mike Dudarenok.
Mike’s prediction was part of a presentation on AI in our everyday lives, the thirty-something innovation and customer experience leader told a packed audience at the recent CAPA Centre for Aviation conference in Sydney.
Mike’s compelling presentation gave examples of how AI is quietly ticking behind the scenes using data and algorithms to power online tools we use daily such as Google Maps and Google Search – all to deliver answers and information faster and more efficiently.
“AI is at the cornerstone of products such as Google Maps or Google Search. Behind the scenes a lot of our daily technology is powered by AI,” Mike said.
He then went on to explain why and how data had become the new ‘oil’ of our era.
“Without data AI does not have teeth. AI utilises our data to figure out the right patterns to create a better experience for the user for the next time they use a tool or product. Machine learning puts the data together so the tool or product you are using is better next time,” he said.
“Google search is the perfect example of how a recommendation engine has changed the way we search for information. Recommendation engines are designed to remove clutter to provide you with the information or data you need faster.”
Mike said it wouldn’t be long before the AI-powered tools that business travellers were currently using for their trip planning, presented itinerary options that combined our personal and business commitments.
“At the moment in the business travel space we are seeing online booking tools such as Flight Centre Travel Group’s SAVI, providing travellers and travel bookers with itinerary recommendations for their travellers based on past booking behaviours,” Mike said. “This is speeding up the search and selection process substantially.”
The Brisbane-based executive said that for his high frequency trips, Savi’s AI capability had dramatically reduced the number of clicks needed to book each trip.
“[Using Savi] I can book my high frequency Sydney trips in just five clicks,” he said.
“Soon these recommendation engines will also be tapping into our personal commitments and providing the best recommendation for a trip time, day or carrier based on what is happening within our lives at that time. I’m an epic believer that most corporate travellers do not like to book their travel. They do it because they have to. Tools of the future will do all of this for you and save you in some cases up to 20 minutes.
“Plus,” he said, “these recommendation engines will do it in a way that people will start trusting the technology more and more. Trust is key.
“We are going to get to the point in next two years of a single-click booking for corporate travellers. Why would a busy executive who flies a few times a week want to search for their flight or accommodation, pick options and think about what their personal commitments are – when a tool could do that for you. Soon our online booking tools will learn and know our behaviours, incorporate our personal commitments with our business travel needs as well as any other level of personalisation you like, such as seating preference on a flight…all of this with an option to select, which I couldn’t have found faster or more accurately.
“This AI capability of the future is going to save travellers between five and up to 20 minutes every time they book travel.”