Recently Heathrow Airport saw incidents of mass flight cancellations, delays, and baggage issues thanks to the resurrection of the zeal for traveling amongst people, owing to the bottleneck caused by global travel restrictions. Such is the effect of the revenge travel phenomenon.
Tired of being locked down for over a year due to the pandemic, people started storming to nearby holiday destinations to break free from the humdrum activities and routine life.
The travel industry was subject to unavoidable impact due to the Covid shutdown. According to Statista, the worldwide travel and tourism GDP saw a 50% freefall from 10% to 5% in 2020.
With any unnatural imbalance, an adverse effect is imminent, and in this case, a new trend emerged — Revenge Travel.
New work trends have paved the way for Revenge Travel
The exhaustion of staying inside their homes for a continued period led to this reactive global phenomenon. Once the cases started to decline and countries across the globe began easing travel restrictions, the vacation-starved populace rearing to make up for lost time and confinement started the trend of revenge traveling.
While traveling was always an option for people, the revenge travel phenomenon saw its inception as animosity towards not having a choice of leaving their homes.
As with contemporary trends, revenge travel saw an immense foothold, and people started booking airline tickets like there was no tomorrow. Staycation and workcation trends have emerged amongst organizations across the world, opening possibilities to travel more than usual. People even preferred domestic traveling, and domestic flight bookings beat international flight bookings in July 2021.
So, what exactly is the solution? Like other industries, can technology play an aiding role in easing these issues? Can it help accelerate the performance of the travel industry?
Travel and Tourism –can AI be beneficial?
Messy travel experiences are an issue for customers, while businesses cannot afford to lose face. Everyone has been the recipient of a messy travel experience at least once in their lifetime. Being allocated a different room and tickets booked for the wrong date or time is something everyone has faced. The classic story of a travel agent messing up one of the most important adventures of people’s life is not something new.
But travel aggregators have changed the landscape for travel and tourism businesses. AI has made the life of travelers a lot easier by being able to book without visiting travel agents.
For businesses, AI offers to increase profitability in many ways. Pioneers in AI and data analytics have designed and developed solutions specific to the Travel & Tourism industry, benefiting both businesses and customers. Let us explore some AI-based Travel & Tourism solutions that can drive growth for the industry.
Managing heavy demands & cancellations
One of the major effects of the rise in revenge travel is the volatile demand. Flights, hotels, and tourist destinations were overwhelmed at once and the unpredictable nature of this demand brought instability and took the travel and tourism industry by surprise.
The availability of big data is such a valuable potential to tackle this challenge for many of the players in the industry. Leveraging data to forecast demand based on several factors like customer behavior, price trends, and upcoming events can be the game-changer and help ease the unforeseen demand and excessive cancellation situation that plagues the industry.
Demand & Cancellation Prediction & Management is an analytical OTA solution from Affine that does this along with predicting inclement weather and the resulting flight delays. By doing this, the solution also helps OTAs equip themselves to handle and assist customers, resolve queries, and manage rebooking in case of cancellations.
This data powered analytical solution helps OTAs predict demand, reduce cancellations and manage refunds, while improving cash-flow for the business. Effectively managing cancellations and refunds also result in a smooth customer experience and increased brand loyalty.
Automated query handling — the need of the hour for both OTAs and customers
With the revenge travel chaos and ever rising flight and hotel bookings, customers have many qualms and queries. The sheer volume of queries paired with the skyrocketing number of customers makes this a herculean challenge for OTA players.
While agents are necessary to solve certain queries and issues, manual efforts simply can’t hold up to this excessive number of requests and a sea of travelers.
OTAs need to automate the initial levels of travel queries for a smoother process. Furthermore, chatbots are far superior to manual labor in terms of time management and efficiency in handling the sheer volume of customers.
Affine’s Contextual AI — Chatbot & analyticsis an AI-based chatbot that handles major customer queries and manages them. Live agents are necessary to solve certain issues but this chatbot only transfers the customer to the live agent when it is absolutely necessary, thus easing the load on agents while efficiently handing most mundane queries thanks to its intelligent capabilities.
For OTAs, this solution helps improve operational costs and reduce customer service costs by having fewer agents as the chatbot handlesthe majority of the traffic. It also helps understand customer interactions helping improve customer experience and overall customer satisfaction.
These are just examples of a few solutions, and there are tailor-made solutions to improve almost every aspect of the travel & tourism industry like
- Conversion rate
- Acquisition cost
- Ad impressions and many more.
As people are getting more dependent on technology day by day, providing a smooth customer journey is essential in the long run for players in the travel industry. Leveraging the abundance of data and the excellence of AI and ML technology provides an airtight business practice headed towards sustainability & success.
The post-pandemic era has brought some drastic changes to the lifestyle of people all over the world. The innate yearning for traveling has burst and traveling has become the de-stressing factor for the majority. Hybrid working models for offices and work from anywhere trends have opened the possibilities to travel with just a laptop and an internet connection.
Revenge travel may be a one-time phenomenon, but it has awakened the deep desire to travel within the populace across the world.
Revenge travel is just a setting stone for what is in store for the travel and tourism industry. The travel and tourism industry needs solutions that will help them operate efficiently and rake in higher margins. Booking agents are history and travel aggregators are competing across the industry, but AI-specific travel solutions will help travel and tourism businesses equip themselves with the future-ready foolproof tools required to sustain.
What does Affine bring to the table?
Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with space-defining Logos like Expedia, HCOM and Vrbo to name a few. From travel & tourism to game analytics, & media and entertainment, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.
Learn more about how Affine can revamp your Travel and Tourism business!