While there’s no doubt that AI is the current buzzword of the industry, when it comes to its application in business travel, artificial intelligence simply comes down to data-driven science and analytics. This technology can dramatically enhance the business travel experience. Here’s how.
With machine learning – a subset of AI – we can begin using data from previous trip itineraries to create more personalized booking experiences. At American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), we use this technology specifically through our Trip Recommender™ solution for hotel bookings. If a traveler books a flight through an approved channel without a hotel attached, a notification is automatically sent to the traveler with a curated list of recommended hotels. The choices are based on the traveler’s previous business trips, usual booking habits and room availability.
Taking AI a step further, Trip Recommender can begin to understand the traveler’s preferences over time and will self-adjust in order to deliver better results, with no human intervention required. And if a traveler’s own booking habits begin to change, so will the suggestions Trip Recommender provides, thanks to its learning capability.
Expediting the on-boarding process
AI and automation can also be useful for the TMC on-boarding process. Traditionally, when a TMC takes on a new client, it involves a lengthy procedure filled with follow-ups and fact checking before all that information is manually loaded into systems.
Now, instead of exchanging documents via email, American Express GBT has an online portal through which customers can provide the right information the first time around, with step-by-step support and validation even as they supply the information.
At that point, the robotics kick in to replicate the information to systems that are not yet fully integrated. For the systems that do have API connectivity, the data will flow through to them accurately and consistently. As a result, the entire on-boarding process is accelerated, with a faster go-live date.
Providing meaningful data
Big data can be useful to travel managers, with data visualization tools like Premier Insights, which can instantly deliver actionable results in an easy-to-digest format. For instance, you may see high spend in one particular destination where business is growing. Armed with this kind of information, you can then proactively negotiate deals with suppliers for travel to this hotspot location.
All this is just scratching the surface. With nearly 40 million bookings made annually with American Express GBT, we have a tremendous amount of data that can be extremely beneficial for travel managers when strategically managed. In fact, we recently hired a team of data scientists to continually find new and interesting ways to cross-reference the wealth of data we have in order to deliver even more meaningful analytics and actionable insights to you and your organization.
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