Travel is back! Consumers are once again riding the rails, hitting the road, and flying the friendly skies. With this sudden influx in bookings, more companies in travel and hospitality rely on Generative AI to increase revenue and brand loyalty.
According to the US Travel Association’s latest forecast, domestic leisure travel remains strong, while domestic business travel continues its slow recovery. This is good news for the economy and for those of us with wanderlust.
But, what about organizations serving the hypercompetitive travel and hospitality industry? In this fast-moving travel environment, many providers are turning to Generative AI to increase the volume and quality of their messaging to boost bookings and loyalty programs.
What is Generative AI and what is its role in the travel and hospitality sector?
Generative AI leverages natural language processing models to produce text or images based on simple prompts. Many Generative AI platforms enable economies of scale to quickly produce copy such as email subject lines and social media content.
The Persado Motivation AI Platform is different—and more powerful. Our specially-trained, enterprise-grade Generative AI doesn’t just focus on producing comprehensible language. Instead, it is purpose-built to generate messages that tap into customer motivations. Motivation is the difference between a consumer browsing travel packages vs. booking a trip.
Enterprise companies using Generative AI in travel & hospitality—and particularly Motivation AI—are capitalizing on some of the biggest growth opportunities of the decade.
We saw many examples of that when we looked at the trends in travel campaigns for our 2023 Customer Motivation Report. Last year saw not only an emphasis on “revenge travel.” It was also the year of REJUVENATION—the narrative that produced the highest response in 83% of the travel campaigns in which it appeared. Consumers motivated by REJUVENATION were inspired to optimize their downtime and restore their minds and bodies. This came through in marketing messages like We’re giving you an excuse to take a day off, R&R, this way, and You deserve a relaxing getaway.
WANDERLUST was the second-highest performer while ESCAPISM—a narrative that tends to thrive in travel messages—failed to inspire travelers to act in 2022. These insights and others are the direct result of leveraging motivation-aware Generative AI in travel. Let’s dig deeper into how travel operators can do that.
7 ways Generative AI Maximizes Marketing ROI in the Travel Industry
The potential of Generative AI to improve marketing ROI in travel sectors is enormous. Expect its adoption to be much quicker than the shift to the internet a generation ago. Below are the latest trends:
Personalized Booking Experiences and Marketing Communications
Today’s customers expect personalized booking experiences. The concierge-style experience shouldn’t start when the customer arrives at their destination. With the help of motivation-aware Generative AI, it can begin during the booking process or even as early as the first marketing contact with the customer.
Large travel brands can look for Generative AI tools for the travel industry that create personalized itineraries in real-time at scale. By using data related to the individual customer, travel operators can develop a travel itinerary for Paris, Miami, or Sydney that reflects individual needs and display it within seconds.
As data sets become more sophisticated, recommendations—and the language used to promote them—will become even more targeted. For example, if a loyal customer just took a Caribbean cruise, motivation-aware Generative AI can help brands fine-tune the language in a post-trip message suggesting their next get-away. Predictive analytics can help identify the next offer—should it be a trip to Alaska, or another sand-and-sea get-away? Combining that with optimized, AI-generated language, the travel operator can more effectively spur the customer to take action and book the next trip or excursion. Enterprise travel companies that have the ability to do this at scale, will motivate customers to book time and time again, increasing both revenue and loyalty.
Assisted Bookings at Scale
Generative AI in travel booking is going to change the game. AI assistants and intelligent chatbots help travelers book flights and accommodations as well as hire vehicles online. Travel operators deploy these chatbots on social media sites like Facebook messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber to offer users a more personalized booking experience.
Travel reservation giants already incorporate chatbots into the user experience. Usually, the traveler is prompted to start the conversation with a chatbot by entering details about a potential trip. Then the bot combs through booking sites to find the best deal. Generative AI brings that experience to the next level in travel.
Upgrades During the Booking Process
Generative AI allows for quick, easy communication throughout the traveler journey that drives revenue and reduces operational costs. This targeted messaging results in seamless bookings that produce more upgrades.
For large global travel brands such as Royal Caribbean or Marriott, it’s impossible to share every single upgrade, experience, or destination at any given touchpoint. Since not every upgrade is going to appeal to everyone, it’s important to decide what to show a given customer. And to ensure that an offer gets the best chance at breaking through the digital noise, that offer also needs to be delivered using the words most likely to motivate engagement and action. Doing that effectively and at scale requires access to countless data points that identify the right offer and the right language for your customer segments.
Robotic Customer Support
Customer service robots are slowly supplementing humans in the travel industry. Robot- and AI-delivered service enables unprecedented economies of scale and scope to provide improved customer experience, service quality, and productivity.
According to a report by the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University, many travel entities experiment with service robots. In some hotel lobbies, humanoid robots welcome guests, provide information, and entertain.
When it comes to taking drink orders and mixing cocktails, AI robots are mixing things up:
- Royal Caribbean has a Bionic Bar run by Makr Shakr robots – watch them in action.
- BRILLO, the AI-powered bartending robot, can even make small talk.
- Cecilia.ai was created to take some of the pressure off those in the service industry during the labor shortage.
At airports, robots using Generative AI scan boarding passes and help passengers find gates, improving the travel experience. Self-moving check-in kiosk robots find busy areas and autonomously relocate to reduce passenger waiting time. At Hamad International Airport in Qatar, a security robot uses built-in cameras to measure pulse rate, carry out face recognition, and sensors to detect fake credit cards and currencies. At Philadelphia International Airport, Gita, a robot that travels 20 miles on a single charge, delivers food orders to passengers at lounges while they wait for flights.
Initial deployments of service robots focus on simple and repetitive tasks that require low cognitive and emotional complexity. An example is physical hotel robots delivering room service and baggage to guest’s rooms. Employees can spend time on higher-level tasks.
Stronger Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are essential for retaining high-priority customers. They are an effective strategy to reward customers and collect critical data for personalization and enhancing customer experiences. Gartner predicts that by 2027 one in three businesses without a loyalty program today will establish one to maintain first-party data collection and retain high-priority customers.
Travel and hospitality brands get more from their loyalty programs by connecting the data to CRMs, booking, reservations systems, customer service, and marketing automation systems. By sharing data, a complete view of every traveler is developed. Brands can predict when members are at risk of disengaging with a loyalty program, and activate new promotions to keep them from opting out.
Generative AI in travel adds more firepower to loyalty programs. Data gathered from these programs personalizes rewards and incentives for customers with pinpoint accuracy. Today, AI-powered chatbots found in loyalty programs resolve 80% of customer problems during the first interaction. The chances for customer retention automatically increase with these positive experiences.
Persado travel industry clients accelerate revenue growth through repeat business with Motivation AI. To encourage post-trip engagement, travel operators generate personalized messaging using communications tailored to motivate engagement and trust. These elements are important drivers of customer acquisition and loyalty.
From a post-travel customer experience perspective, enhancements include outreach to customers who experienced travel disruptions, assistance with claims, refunds for lost items, special offers on frequently traveled routes, and rewards program problem resolution.
For example, a top airline used the Persado Motivation AI to get customers to book their next trip using bonus miles as an additional motivator.
Metaverse, Social Media, and Streaming Previews
According to a recent survey by Booking.com, travelers are experimenting with the Metaverse. When it comes to virtual reality, 43% of global travelers report that tech inspires their 2023 vacation choices. Another 46% say they’re more likely to travel to unfamiliar destinations after experiencing them virtually. Optimizing the Metaverse experience with virtual billboards and language could potentially drive more IRL travel bookings.
But, this isn’t just the case with the Metaverse. Social media influencers on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and more also inspire bookings when they share content from their adventures in different destinations.
Popular shows like “Game of Thrones” and “The White Lotus” also inspired travel trends. “The White Lotus” drove a 50% increase in online searches for vacations to Sicily. The San Domenico Palace, the setting of season 2, is completely sold out through 2023. As the final season of “Game of Thrones” approached in 2019, bookings to filming destinations across Europe increased exponentially. According to Criteo, bookings to Croatia increased by up to 68%, bookings to Iceland increased by up to 166%, and bookings to Ireland increased by up to 44%. This proves that travel inspiration from popular streaming series doesn’t just get consumers to search for featured destinations. It gets them to book a trip to a destination they may never have considered before.
The business benefits for travel companies
Revenge travel is still going strong. It’s broadly defined as people eager to make up for time and experiences lost to the pandemic. This uptick presents enormous opportunities that travel and hospitality leaders can use Generative AI to take advantage of. By analyzing large datasets, AI-enabled travel technology provides efficient processes that change the way the industry serves customers. Benefits include:
- Increased productivity: At its best, AI complements the human workforce. Generative AI deployed in travel companies can perform lower level tasks to free up staff time for more complicated initiatives.
- Better customer experiences: Every travel company strives to cultivate the best customer experience possible. With Generative AI, customer service metrics improve. Advancements include preventing calls before they happen and equipping human service agents with real-time information.
- Higher conversion rates: Persado Motivation AI leverages a vast, proprietary knowledge base and AI language models specifically designed for enterprise communication. Brands experience an average 41% increase in business conversions using Persado Motivation AI.
- Increased revenue: Generative AI for travel increases revenue because of its efficiency and clarity. With personalization, travelers feel more valued and are less likely to book with a competitor. Your brand benefits from the best tools to motivate customers.
How travel companies can get started with Generative AI
Persado provides the only Generative AI that enables personalized communications at scale, inspiring each individual to engage and act. Motivation AI is the missing link connecting customers to better experiences and travel companies to more profitable relationships.
The Persado Motivation AI Platform enhances the digital booking experience across each stage of the customer journey. It does this by analyzing existing marketing messages crafted for a personalized travel campaign. It then generates new messages with the same intention but optimized using millions of data points to deliver the highest-performing stories, emotions, words, and calls to action.
The Persado Motivation AI Platform can also test a variety of messages to identify the best performer for a campaign. Some Persado customers also leverage Language Profiles. These allow brands to deliver personalized messages to high-value segments such as the highest tier of a loyalty program or first-class travelers.
With Persado, travel brands uncover the precise language that motivates customers to engage and act. When delivered at scale, these motivation-oriented messages produce an average of 40% higher conversations for the travel and hospitality sector.
Whether you’re a channel owner, campaign manager, copywriter, or brand strategist, our enterprise platform fits into your existing workflow. Add a strategic layer to the communications you send to consumers, request content creation, leverage new campaign ideas, explore deep-learning insights, and collaborate on approvals with your team.
- Enterprise-ready security, privacy, and compliance.
- Persado support for private, public, and multi-cloud deployments with our platform that easily deploys and scales.
- Fine-tune results across every customer touch point.
Our travel industry clients use Persado solutions for:
Communication around check in, upgrade options, and reservation changes are optimized to keep customers informed and excited about their trips. Using the Persado Motivation AI Platform, a web banner ad created for an airline promoted same-day, first-class seat upgrades to ticket holders. It led to $8 million in incremental revenue.
Customers envision their dream vacation with more targeted advertising. Persado drives awareness and showcases your brand. A recent example is a booking website that improved content on top destinations for Google Ads, resulting in 43% more transactions.
Easier Bookings and Upgrades
Using the Persado Generative AI in travel websites and in-airport kiosks, customers enjoy a seamless bookings process designed to motivate upgrades and additional services. For example, an airline used a web banner ad to promote same-day, first-class seat upgrades to ticket holders, leading to increased acceptance—and an estimated $8 million in incremental revenue.
Want to learn more about Generative AI in travel? Book a demo to learn how you can accelerate revenue growth and customer loyalty metrics with the Persado Motivation AI Platform.
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