Could Artificial Intelligence Replace the Travel Agent? New blog post by Paul Richer
As Paul Richer is a hugely respected consultant on technology in the travel industry, I am interested to read anything that he publishes on his blog. This recent post about Artificial Intelligence in the travel industry particularly caught my eye.
In the blog post Paul describes how time-consuming it was for him to put together a holiday itinerary online, when ultimately all it took was a quick call to a travel agent who could use their expertise and knowledge to arrange everything for him in no time at all. He discusses whether A.I. could ever possibly replace the human travel agent.
It reminded me of a blog post that I wrote earlier this year, entitled ‘Barking up the Wrong Tree – 3 Common Web Copy Mistakes’. While discussing mistake number three on my list (‘Too Much Selling’) I described the need to identify the objective of a website:
[…] there are many industries where the internet is the point of discovery and the website should really be nothing more than the starting point for a real conversation with a real person.
This idea of the website as a starting point rather than a booking tool is an important one. Many of our travel clients pride themselves on their ability to tailor-make bespoke holiday experiences to suit a customer’s individual needs. These kind of businesses thrive because customers want to feel that their specific wishes are being taken on board by a sentient being who will offer them a personalised holiday with minimal fuss. They trust in the expert personalities speaking to them on the phone rather than an inflexible booking tool on a website tab.
It strikes me that this could be an area in the travel industry in which A.I. may not be able to encroach. When it comes to bespoke, specialised experiences, I agree with Paul and suspect that people will continue to want the expert guidance of an individual who can recommend specific solutions rather than a mass of conflicting offers on a comparison website.
Maybe, as Paul suggests in his excellent article, artificial intelligence isn’t ready to replace the travel agent quite yet?
I would curious to hear your thoughts on the matter.
To read Paul’s article please click on the image below.
To read my article please click on the image below.