Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Tourism Industry: What Every DMO Needs to Know 

Technology is so commonplace in our daily lives that it’s easy to forget what travelling used to be like. There was a time when agents actually sat with you to explain how to get the best deal on your next vacation, when payments were cash-only, and when maps were physical sheets of paper.

Thinking about what used to be, it’s not difficult to see how greatly technology and artificial intelligence have impacted the travel and tourism industry in our modern day. From automated asset management to targeted ads and chatbots, the industry is quickly becoming reliant on AI in many areas—especially marketing.

Want to know more about how AI is changing the industry in 2019? Take a look at our list of trends below:

 

Smart Ads

Advertising got its start with clever tag-lines, alluring imagery, a dash of psychoanalysis and tons of slick elbow grease. But long gone are the days of Mad Men and here are the days of big data, endless analytics and AI for your next big ad push. Keith Eadie, VP and GM of Adobe Advertising Cloud in an article for CMO agrees, explaining: “AI is doing way more than just housekeeping…. Automation and AI are amplifying what’s possible for humans to do.” For example, within Adobe’s advertising platform users can now optimize their display, search and video ads, and even make adaptive ad buys based on human-set goals.

Similarly, many social media platforms, like Facebook, use AI to automatically create ads and find audience targets that might be useful to marketers. On the user end, Facebook uses an AI tool called DeepText to extract meaning from words users post. The AI analyses text contextually and then makes smart suggestions for products based on recent conversations by the user. DMOs are leveraging this technology to create highly targeted ads that take much less effort to create than previously.

Success stories are aplenty using this technology too. For example, Thermalquellen Brigerbad, a Swiss wellness resort, had over a third of its web traffic come from Facebook through a campaign that used Facebook’s Custom Audiences, language and location targeting. It also made use of the platform’s carousel ad format to showcase the resort’s revamped facilities, amenities and stunning location. As a result, they had 80% of web traffic come from new visitors with an average cost of €0.28 per click.

 

Intelligent and Automated Asset Management

Cloud computing has changed the way most industries find, sort, store and share their assets. Processes that used to be time-consuming now take seconds because all files are stored, shared and well-organized under one cloud-based roof.

Add in intelligent automation and organization, and you’ve got a smooth-running marketing database that requires far less maintenance and manpower to operate. For example, 21st Century Fox has saved thousands of man hours using cloud-based automated storage and sharing capabilities. With over 45 million creative assets across 195 countries internationally, this is a huge efficiency boost.

Paul Cheesebrough, Fox’s CTO explains: “Historically, this is a logistically heavy process where we ship tapes and film around the world and digitize them many times over to produce the final content for our consumers and our partners…. Frankly, it’s a nightmare of complexity and inefficiency.”

Now, with intelligent automation, Fox easily saves, stores, organizes and groups all their assets for production partners. “You could say we’ve moved from looking in the rear-view mirror to looking forward and around corners,” states Cheesebrough.

For DMOs, the uses for this technology are similar. Whether sharing videos and images across countries or sending different campaign materials to multiple media outlets, cloud-based asset management software has changed the game. Plus, the addition of visual recognition software allowing your images and videos to be scanned for generic tags and keywords, saves hours of time adding in those keywords manually and searching for files.

 

Chatbots

Do you use online chat messaging to connect to a business? If so, there is a big chance that you’re chatting with AI. In fact, this technology is growing so quickly that Gartner predicts by 2025, 85% of customers will be talking to enterprises without a human. Many hotels and OTAs employ chatbots to ensure customers have ‘someone’ to talk to 24/7, while others use it as a way to ensure the most frequent FAQs are filtered through the AI first, and then other inquiries are redirected to real agents—thus saving time and manpower.

Take, for example, HiJiffy, a chatbot platform built specifically for the travel industry. The bot is programmed to answer users’ FAQs and, if it does not understand the query, automatically transfers the user to a human agent. Mariana Marques, Junior Marketing Manager for HiJiffy, explains in an article for Medium: “We empower you with a great tool that will definitely improve your customer care. It is a fact that potential travellers want to ask questions about the place they want to go. Using our solution to answer their queries automatically, the chances they book with you will increase.”