ChatGPT. Direct reservations on Instagram. The Internet. Being a travel agent in the age of instant gratification is a far cry from what it was before the advent of the World Wide Web. Travel agents negotiated and purchased rooms for their clients through tour operators such as Thomas Cook or created bespoke packages. Second, online travel agencies, such as Booking.com – changed everything.
In 20 years, the whole booking and sales model for travel agents has changed dramatically – particularly post-Covid – and with rapid advances in technology, agents need to adapt quickly.
Automation and innovation are not only paving the way for tourism, but also accelerating the future of the industry.
Here are three ways automation and technological innovation continue to transform travel and how you can adapt and integrate future technologies to work successfully with your customers.
More automation tools make your life easier
Start-ups and innovative companies regularly come up with simpler and more practical tools, whether it’s ticketing or daily calendar management, that help you on a daily basis.
Take for example the technology tools provided to travel agents, such as Expedia Access or Booking.com’s travel agent platform, and Saber has partnered with Trava to help automate post-booking processes for agents. trips to help increase their income. Traditional travel agencies need to take the time to learn which tools work best and need to be flexible as more tools are sure to be launched in the next few years, including generative artificial intelligence.
Automation tools work in your favor. In fact, at the recent Google I/O conference, the tech giant has announced generative AI upgrades to its platforms, including Google search. The new search with AI, known as Search Generative Experience (SGE), will include AI-powered snapshots for daily queries, purchases and other areas useful to travel agents.
ChatGPT will swing you – but you can control it
Speaking of generative AI, ChatGPT has had a significant impact on travel, especially with the emergence and rise of AI-based booking platforms. However, one thing that ChatGPT lacks is core. A human connection is what many customers value.
ChatGPT, or any other AI for that matter, hasn’t violated the most intimate aspect of trip planning which requires personalized arrangements, first-hand experiences, and your vast knowledge and expertise about the destination. While chatbots and virtual assistants can answer basic questions and are active 24/7, hosts and travel agents can leverage human connections for more complex arrangements.
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Travel agents can use ChatGPT to their advantage by leveraging the machine learning data they need to help customers and travel suppliers, such as algorithms indicating the best time to book flights on specific dates, by analyzing current and future travel patterns and trends, as well as traveler interests and interests. preferences based on their social media activity (including predicting trending destinations).
For example, ChatGPT personalizes recommendations based on a traveler’s preferences, as well as real-time data (distance from hotel to attraction during peak hours, weather, etc.), which can help you create an unforgettable route. You can also use ChatGPT to write personalized emails, and travel agents can also use AI, like Shutterstock, which uses AI to optimize image searches for their business or to market key destinations.
Finally, one of the most attractive benefits of ChatGPT or AI for hosts and hoteliers is to streamline reservation processes and more importantly to manage basic requests and automate tasks that save you time. , such as instant responses to customers.
Although ChatGPT cannot relive the amazing experience of staying at a wonderful boutique hotel like Kilmartin Castle, it is here to stay. And it can tell you that the property is part of a collection of unique, notable and luxurious independent properties, or that the property was ranked fourth in the New York Times rankings.52 places to visit in 2023or that young owners are exceptionally friendly and love pets.
The human touch and wonderful personalized service that many travelers prefer can be integrated into ChatGPT to provide the best combination of facts, knowledge, convenience and empathy.
Get ready to immerse yourself in virtual and augmented reality
The metaverse will open many doors when it comes to travel and shape the way we interact with others. Virtual and augmented reality offer immersive travel experiences that will influence how a traveler can book future vacations.
Travel agents and hosts can benefit immensely. Painting a picture with words is one thing; immersing the customer in a selection of destinations via virtual and augmented reality can help close the deal. These types of experiences help travelers make decisions faster, rather than “thinking about” them, which results in faster bookings.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies can be used to simulate a range of travel experiences, from exploring an exotic island to stunning close encounters with animals on a safari or ancient monuments. The keyword for these technologies is “immersive”. In the 90s, photos and short videos were enough to captivate the visitor. Now, these new technologies can literally place the visitor virtually in a hotel, restaurant, tour, attraction or destination. The technology is also fairly new; it is an experience in itself.
Many hosts and travel agents are already using virtual reality to promote destinations using 360-degree videos of hotels, cruises, resorts and exotic tours, such as VR World Travel. And a number of companies, like the British Museum, are also using virtual reality and augmented reality to offer virtual tours of their exhibits. Do you have customers who want to know what flying in business class on KLM looks like? They have virtual tours of all their jets. Discover Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Bureau, offers virtual site inspections, which are useful not only to travelers but also to travel agents. And in May, Singapore Tourism partnered with Google to launch two new immersive augmented reality experiences around Singapore’s famous Merlion Park and Victoria Theater & Concert Hall in its Visit Singapore app.
Today, many hosts such as Hocking Hills with its portfolio of thousands of properties, including the famed Ridgemont Lodge of Bourbon Ridge Retreat, offer 3D tours of their establishment. As VR and AR technologies become more mainstream, it’s only a matter of time before we can all put on our VR glasses and walk straight into the room we’re booking. Obviously, this will be accompanied by increased challenges related to the regulation and management of labels and certifications to protect consumers against counterfeits.