How is an artificial intelligence personal travel assistant changing the way we book travel?

12 July, 2017

Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking a greater role in the travel industry in a development that is sure to simplify complex travel decisions, shorten the buying process and deliver a more personalised offering to the consumer. AI automates computer processes to understand and mimic the human brain and just like the organ can learn from its errors or misunderstandings to deliver a better future service. With endless travel data parameters that can be transitioned to the automated process, there is an abundance of opportunities to improve the traveller experience.

The whole concept of AI and machine-learning is not new, but hospitality and travel brands are now starting to see its value and embrace the automation by embedding it into the technological platforms to improve customer service and engagement. In the last couple of days AI-powered personal travel assistant Mezi has announced its entry into the business services category with the launch of Mezi for Business for the corporate travel vertical. Mezi's travel-as-a-service solution now arms Travel Management Companies (TMCs), Corporates and Travel Agents with one of the most advanced AI platforms for travel.

"Cumbersome and fragmented software solutions are weighing down the corporate travel industry, where service delivery is overly complex and customer satisfaction is disappointingly low. It's an industry ripe for disruption, and perfectly suited for the automation and personalisation AI provides," says Swapnil Shinde, co-founder and chief executive officer, Mezi.

Founded in 2015 as an AI-powered consumer travel service, Mezi applied its customer-first innovation and mobile always approach to corporate travel to simplify the workflow for an industry that for a long-time had effectively lacked a fast, easy and efficient way to service its customers. The Mezi for Business platform - comprised of a Travel Dashboard for partners, and iOS/Android apps for travellers - uses AI and machine learning to automate and perfect the travel booking and management process for the corporate travel industry, says the developer.

Current Mezi for Business customers include American Express, celebrity concierge service Bluefish, TMCs Adelman Travel, Casto Travel and W Travel, who use Mezi to meet the needs of the corporate entities they serve and several other leading Fortune 500 corporations and airlines are also understood to be preparing to pilot the technology this year.

With the introduction of AI automation to the human agent's booking workflow, Mezi for Business clearly provides significant opportunities for increased productivity and optimisation, helping grow and scale businesses more quickly and efficiently, while providing travellers with a new level of personalised service.

"The Mezi for Business unifies the best of the old-school approach and new-age technologies, serving up the human experience of travel agents coupled with the speed, intelligence and efficiency powered by machine learning. We're thrilled with the industry's response to Mezi to-date, and excited to see its impact on corporate travel as we officially bring our product to the industry," says Mr Shinde.

While Mezi for Business is a new offering for the corporate travel industry, the AI for travel service has already been used by more than 100,000 travellers and processed over 50 million words across 500,000 conversations, enabling Mezi's natural language processing engine to recognise and process most travel related conversations.

Through machine learning AI, via its DNA, improves, advances, and becomes even more helpful, adapting and looking for new creative solutions even with complex processes. Each new conversation adds knowledge and intelligence to the overall AI engine capabilities, ensuring it is always learning and gets smarter with every conversation.

Most software based solutions seek to solve a problem, but Mezi, by contrast, aims higher with a white-label solution that can be tailored to providers and which some travel specialists have already suggested it has hit the market at the right time to potentially "revolutionise" the travel industry. Users may not even realise they are talking to a bot rather than a human

The benefits are clear to see. Mezi's Travel Dashboard puts the power of AI-assistance in the hands of travel agents, allowing for faster response times to client requests through automation. Its intuitively designed conversational interface actually simplifies the skills necessary to become a travel agent, reducing training requirements. The AI-powered chatbots are capable of automating more than 60% of conversations initiated by travellers across all verticals ranging from flights and hotels to restaurant reservations.

It is clear AI platforms like Mezi for Business can deliver benefits to both consumers and travel agents. They can easily integrate together a number of content channels into one joint interface on the back-end and ultimately build a brand-new travel agency operating system which can consolidate multiple bookings from different sources into a single itinerary. It may still be some time before AI truly transforms the travel experience, but every day we are moving closer to that end result.