The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Travel Management

Learn how artificial intelligence is changing the way companies manage travel, expediting processes and ensuring the best travel experience.

Learn how artificial intelligence is changing the way companies manage travel, expediting processes and ensuring the best travel experience.

By Jessica Freedman

Artificial intelligence image showing all the different use cases

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is transforming the way companies manage travel. TMCs and travel management platforms are jumping on the bandwagon and leveraging AI to provide quicker service, as well as help unlock savings by giving you the ability to understand what are the most convenient and cheapest flight deals, among many other use cases.

According to a study by GBTA 34% of travel buyers plan on implementing AI applications/ tools in their corporate travel programs in the year ahead. With many people still on the fence about whether AI can be trusted, let’s look at the impact of artificial intelligence on travel management to help you better understand how it can positively impact the way your company handles business travel.

AI is the buzzword of the moment but what exactly is AI? Put simply, it’s the science of how machines can be trained to think like humans, simulating both human intelligence and problem-solving. When we think of smart technology, for example, what is working in the background is artificial intelligence. AI can process large amounts of data within seconds and recognize patterns or solve problems in a quick and efficient way. 

Brief history of Artificial Intelligence adoption in the travel industry

AI’s adoption in the travel industry started slowly with the integration of basic automation in reservation systems, and has later been embraced to operate sophisticated applications relating to personalization, customer service and operational efficiency. In the 80s and 90s there was a rise of the use of technology like GDS (Global Distribution Systems) and CRS (computerized reservation systems), but these didn’t yet utilize AI.

Fast forward to the early 2000s and with the rise of online travel agencies (OTAs) like started to use algorithms generated by AI to help improve the search and booking functionalities, as well as for airlines and hotels to better predict demand and utilize dynamic pricing.

In more recent years, and with the advent of Natural language processing (NLP) chatbots, and virtual assistants were able to better facilitate the customer experience. Nowadays AI optimizes many aspects of travel operations, and travel management through chatbots for travel, language translation AI, AI cybersecurity, improving the traveler experience, customer interaction AI, information security AI, AI compliance, AI software development and AI fraud detection. 

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Understanding AI in travel management

AI is being used in travel management to help employers live up to their duty of care giving the possibility to track travelers and ensure they arrived safely to their destinations. It is also being used to predict the best airfare prices; easily populating fields in an expense management tool when travelers scan their receipts, saving time and making the whole travel management process more efficient. AI will likely revolutionize the travel industry on a whole without limits. 

But we’re not quite there yet. According to PhocusWire marketing trends AI analysis, “the typical technology adoption cycle is underway when it comes to  AI where once 10% of the market embraces it, the remaining 80% follows fairly quickly.” While some were worried that AI would replace human jobs, the reality is that rather than replace humans, it should augment human capabilities.

Enhanced Customer Experience

AI models in travel management platforms can help predict the best prices for airfare based on the average price for a particular destination at any given time. These personalized travel recommendations can give you confidence that you are booking the best fare for your budget. 

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Pro tip

In the case of GetGoing you can get access to automatic control over prices with our Go Smart AI integration. Be sure to get the cheapest flight options for your travelers by allowing you to see if a flight price is less expensive ($) or more expensive ($$$$) than similar options so you can make the most informed decisions. This will help you to better manage your travel policy and set price caps, ensuring your employees always have access to the most convenient travel options within the company’s budget. 

Operational Efficiency

Busy companies don’t have time to waste managing business travel. With the help of AI in your travel management platform, approvals and automation is easy. If you need to claim your travel expenses you can easily scan your receipts and AI in your travel platform will help populate the fields so that you don’t have to waste time manually inputting receipt information. 

You can also get real-time itinerary updates and alerts so that you are sure your flights are all on time and you don’t have to keep refreshing the browser.

Cost Reduction

Favor a travel management platform that allows you to better predict costs. With AI this is possible as well as is the need for less human intervention in time-consuming processes like expense management. It can also reduce the amount of people you need to manage travel because it can automate a lot of the otherwise mundane tasks around travel management, such as trip approvals

Safety and security

AI can do what humans can’t. It can track the safe arrival of your road warriors so you can live up to your duty of care. It can also predict hotspots or dangerous locations and favor flights that have safer routes or stopovers. 

According to BCD Travel’s report on AI and What it Means for Business Travel Management 45% of service organizations will use generative AI and predictive analysis to improve operational efficiency by 2025. And that’s in less than a year from now. Imagine how far we will come in just a few years. Here are some of the primary use cases for AI in managed travel as per the same report.

Customer service

Artificial intelligence can increase efficiency when you ask for help from agents, helping to automate processes and receive a faster and more accurate response so that agents can tend to requests that are more critical or urgent.

Traveler satisfaction and compliance

AI can help analyze a business’s or traveler’s needs, preferences, and behavior to suggest the best travel options within a certain budget or to meet certain requirements. Facial recognition can also be leveraged to speed up the verification of a traveler’s identity, streamlining check-in and boarding, and leading to increased travel satisfaction due to having a smoother travel experience.

Intelligence and insights

AI analytics uses machine learning to help your company process large amounts of data, allowing you to identify trends and patterns so you can make quicker and more accurate decisions in real time.  This must be why according to GBTA’s previously mentioned study, 32% of stakeholders are excited about AI.

Key takeaways

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