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Travel buyers not impressed with new technology

Travel buyers are yet to be convinced by next generation technology, according to research conducted by the Business Travel Show. Approximately one fifth of the 134 European buyers polled believe that by 2022, bots, Blockchain and alternative realities (AR, VR, MR, XR) will ‘significantly improve booking, saving time and money’, but more than half claim it will have minimal to no impact on the industry over the next three years.

The data suggests there is more faith in the opportunities presented by AI: 17% believe it has the potential to ‘revolutionise’ the travel industry by 2022, one quarter feel it will ‘significantly enhance the traveller experience’ in that time, and 39% believe it will have little or no impact.

The survey also asked buyers how the industry will best survive the next three years. Despite the apparent nonchalance surrounding new technology, two thirds of those polled claim its survival will depend on innovation; 30% believe it will be through evolution. Just 4% think the sector needs a total reboot.

What impact will this technology have on business travel by 2022?
  Revolutionise it Significantly enhance traveller experience Significantly improve booking – save time & money Minimal None
AI 18% 25% 18% 20% 19%
Blockchain 10% 12% 20% 30% 28%
Alternative realities 9% 17% 17% 31% 26%
Bots 10% 25% 20% 29% 26%

We Build Bots founder Paul Shepherd, who is taking part in a panel session about bots at Business Travel Show, 20 February at 10am, commented: “When built and used correctly, chatbots can transform customer service, increase efficiencies and even help companies to save and make money. Multinational airlines and online travel sites would offer a competitive advantage if they were to offer a full integrated chatbot using AI and machine learning combined with customer service agent support in order to deliver a 24/7/365 intuitive service.”

On the next three years, he added: “Natural Language Processing (NLP) will continue to improve, which means that chatbots will become easier and more intuitive to interact with. As well as this, the rise in voice will continue to have a huge impact. The possibilities of using voice are endless. Imagine asking your smart home device to check you into your next flight and receiving your boarding pass directly into your inbox. Or alternatively, ask it to search for a holiday that meets your needs, whether that be in school holidays, a particular temperature or less than a four-hour flight away. Chatbots use of voice is improving and evolving consistently and going forward, we’re sure to see huge developments in this space.”

The Business Travel Show takes place at Olympia London, 20-21 February.