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How artificial intelligence is improving business travel

Where exactly is technology improving business travel?

Digital technologies and especially artificial intelligence (AI) systems are transforming the world of business travel. These technologies make it possible to book flights even easier and faster, monitor baggage in the various stages of travel, obtain GPS directions and inform business travelers in case of delays or flight changes.

We explore some of the main areas in which artificial intelligence will play an important role in the near future, further evolving the quality of the business travel experience.

 

Where exactly is technology improving business travel?

Flight assistance

When a business traveler joins a frequent flyer program, artificial intelligence systems can process his or her data to recommend ideal seating on the plane based on previous travel preferences.

Another practical application for artificial intelligence is status updates for flights: whenever there is a cancellation or itinerary change, passengers can be quickly informed and provided with alternate bookings to minimize inconvenience. These new options are a move toward total support that includes both carriers and digital assistants.

Thanks to chatbot systems, some companies are offering a real digital assistant that automatically sends travelers their airline ticket, notifies them of the start of boarding and displays the baggage carousel number where they can pick up their luggage. And because these services often rely on programs such as Skype or Messenger that are already installed on the passenger’s phone, they can often be enjoyed without downloading an extra app.

Platforms such as these, developed by companies like the Star Alliance Group, were all born to serve a common objective: helping travelers feel safe and well-informed about every aspect of their trip and flight.

Going one step further, some airports have even started to devote entire terminals to artificial intelligence: Terminal 4 of the Singapore Airport, for example, is completely digitalized and automated, from the check-in process to baggage registration, security checks and passenger boarding.

Automated hotel check-ins

Business travelers value services that contribute to their efficiency. Giving them the ability to check in to their hotel on their phone rather than at the reception desk is one example of where AI systems are greatly appreciated.

Thanks to an app-based hotel check-in, travelers can choose a number of features for their room before arriving at the hotel: from the floor number to the distance from the elevator, and even settings for temperature or lighting. Communicating these preferences on the go can speed up the process at the hotel and help travelers get the personalized accommodation they want quickly.

Virtual receptionist

Many hotels have introduced a virtual assistance system that offers answers to frequently asked questions. Whenever guests would like to know the Wi-Fi password, order dinner in their room or submit a check-out request, the virtual receptionist provides immediate assistance at any time, day or night. Jupiter Next, a hotel in Portland, uses a device called Roxy that allows guests to obtain information about the weather, request extra towels, get tips on the best local restaurants, listen to music from their favorite artist and enjoy many other services.

In addition, other hotel chains are testing robotic systems that could help automate room service, warehouse management and room cleaning operations, for instance by collaborating in the transport of towels and waste between various floors.

Other useful tools

Moving around the airport with luggage in tow can be exhausting. One solution to this challenge is an automated battery-powered trolley used to transport suitcases. Ovis is the name of a new system that relies a camera and artificial intelligence to follow the passenger through the airport while steering clear of obstacles. The baggage owner wears a connected bracelet that sends an alert if the cart moves more than two meters away. And if an Ovis does get lost, it is still traceable thanks to an integrated GPS system.

Another useful tool during the business trip is the ability to create automatic reports using artificial intelligence. The receipts can be photographed and read by the system which then automatically compiles the various expenditure items, so that the transporter, once returned, only needs to check the report.

Thanks to these and other systems supported by artificial intelligence, travel management is destined to become increasingly smart and efficient, improving the quality of life of frequent business travelers, while allowing businesses to get a better grip on their costs and reduce administrative expenses. Automation, technology, new services: the future is quickly moving in this direction and more and more professionals stand to benefit from these developments.

 

Discover the free program for PartnerPlusBenefit companies to continue improving the business travel experience for employees, with a keen eye on optimizing costs.

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