Fred Barou, senior vice president, customer success anagement, Asia Pacific, Amadeus, shares how contextualisation can offer a next-generation experience for travellers, travel sellers and providers
1. Deeper understanding of a traveller’s journey
Personalisation has benefited the travel industry for over a decade. Travellers crave tailored content and recommendations, as well as control over their itineraries. Various technologies, such as voice search, mobile apps, and chatbots, have been utilised by airlines, hotels, restaurants, and other in-destination services to meet these evolving needs.
Contextualisation provides that unique humanised understanding of a travelle’s journey and takes personalisation to a new level by using (near) real-time information from multiple sources to provide options based on a traveller’s location, special needs, travel companions, and desired activities. This approach provides industry players with a complete view of a traveller’s end-to-end trip and allows for real-time adjustments.
2. Data collaboration
Contextualising a trip involves analysing a whole host of data to unlock its value. According to the Amadeus and Microsoft report, Delivering traveler value: Inspiring, understanding and fulfilling expectations throughout the travel experience and beyond, travellers face limitations in their search process, with 39 per cent reporting frustration with a limited budget search, and 38 per cent with a limited date search. Travellers want more flexibility to search by budget, location, date, and transport options. However, they require transparency on the security of the data they share and how it is being used.
The travel industry can provide a seamless experience through integration, but transparency and security issues must be addressed. Travellers need assurance that their data will be handled appropriately and right now, all they want is improvement measures from the industry.
3. World of search
Planning a trip can be a time-consuming process that involves comparing prices across multiple websites for transportation, accommodation, food, and activities. For business travel, this becomes even more complicated as companies take on a duty of care for their employees. However, a contextualised search can minimise input required from the traveller and draw on data to understand the context of the trip before the search begins.
ChatGPT, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create patterns based on conversations with the user, is an example of this approach. Currently, the travel industry operates in silos with different systems, limiting data accessibility to a select few. To deliver more value, data must be collated and combined so that travel providers can develop a single, optimal proposal and distribute it across the most relevant channels to support the traveller’s needs.
4. On the road
Travel planning involves search parameters, but the real excitement lies in the journey. Contextualisation allows travel providers to learn a traveller’s preferences and adjust their journey. Imagine being on a business trip whereby digital payments by the company are enabled across the last mile of the trip. From restaurants to taxis to receipt filing, everything is optimising to help the business traveller do what they do best, get that next big deal.
For example, Cytric Easy offers a glimpse of the future. The tool allows users to search, book, pay and expense for business travel within the Microsoft 365 productivity tools they use every day, like Microsoft Teams.
5. Toward a purposeful trip
According to the Amadeus and Microsoft report, 56 per cent of business travellers value a stress-free and frictionless journey. To deliver more value to travellers, the travel industry must collaborate and share customer insights to suggest personalised ancillary services and generate new revenue streams.
By contextualising each trip and utilising technologies like AI, and biometrics, the travel experience can become more humanised and personalised, resulting in meaningful and inspiring journeys.