Everyone is talking about the potential of generative AI as high-profile tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E are making headlines. But what exactly is generative AI and is there an actual use for these tools within the tourism sector?
First of all, it’s important to note that while ChatGPT is currently one of the most popular examples of generative AI on the market, there are many examples of tools using this technology. Second, as the adoption of AI in general grows, this technology represents another leap forward. Generative AI is seen as a breakthrough within the AI space as it goes beyond simply identifying and categorizing data from the past and using this information to create original content.
For example, DALL-E and Midjourney have taken the design world by storm and can generate unique images with just a few clicks.
Generative AI has also helped improve chatbots. Rather than spitting out simple, formulaic answers, this technology can analyze customer questions at a deeper level and generate more personalized answers, increasing both accuracy and response rate.
An important misconception to keep in mind is that these tools are not necessarily free. For example, while there is a free version of ChatGPT available, OpenAI (the company behind the tool) recently introduced ChatGPT Plus with unlimited access and additional features for businesses, costing $20 USD per month. Other generative AI ventures, from advanced chatbots to generative design layouts, are likely to come with a price tag from the startups and design firms that use this technology. However, if used early and strategically, generative AI can give your company a competitive edge.
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Let’s take a closer look at the specific opportunities this technology can bring to the tourism industry, including improving customer experience, reach, security, and more.
Leverage generative AI to transform venue design
One way the hospitality, MICE and attraction industries can leverage this technology is by leveraging its generative design capabilities to come up with new layouts and concepts, designing for specific needs such as security or minimizing congestion.
Whether you’re looking to redecorate your hotel lobby to increase traffic to the spa and other amenities or you have a sustainability-focused redesign in mind, these smart tools can be used as a starting point. By entering parameters such as square footage, location, target audience and style, generative AI can be used to automatically create multiple design options for a hotel’s interior and exterior.
By analyzing behavior and purchase history, this technology can create dynamic customer segments.
MICE and attraction planners can also use this technology to design layout concepts that are optimized to boost traffic flow and minimize congestion or safety risks. The use of generative AI can help professionals manage time and resources more efficiently by automating certain aspects of the planning process while providing a variety of event and attraction design options, taking into account attendee demographics and visitor characteristics. location.
Virtual tours can also be developed using generative AI, creating immersive and interactive experiences for potential guests, attendees and visitors in significantly less time. For example, imagine being able to explore a hotel’s facilities and amenities online before booking.
Generative design studios are just taking off in Singapore. For example, Digital blue foam was one of the first to launch a web-based interactive generative design tool in December 2021. Both Nanyang Technological University and Singapore University of Technology and Design also offer courses in generative design, indicating that this trend will only grow in the future.
Deliver better service with human-AI collaboration
Chatbots have already made an appearance and can answer frequently asked customer questions in no time, but advanced generative AI tools are now helping to take things a step further. Instead of simply answering pre-populated questions, chatbots can now serve as a pocket guide that can provide customers with personalized itineraries, travel tips and more as they travel.
The increased level of personalization is something that improves the experience for customers and saves staff time, especially when dealing with shortages. Generative AI chatbots can also be programmed to respond in the customer’s native language, streamlining accessibility for international guests.
In addition to addressing customer needs, these tools can analyze data from past interactions and generate deeper insights for a company’s long-term strategy. This benefits revenue management, helps companies optimize pricing, develop new revenue models for the future, and even automate dynamic pricing to offer relevant rates to customers.
For example, generative AI is used to promote predictive customer segmentation. By analyzing past patterns and purchase history, this technology can more accurately create dynamic customer segments. In addition, it can also use this information to come up with personalized offers and other upselling opportunities.
All in all, it still needs a human to operate and moderate it.
One company experiencing the success of human-AI collaboration is TUI. Their new AI customer assistant, Louise, has a 95% opt-in rate with about 500-600 customers using the service on a monthly basis. Presented by The Netherlands-based startup Zoey, Louise offers an empathy-driven Whatsapp service that uses AI in addition to human expertise. Unlike other chatbots, when a customer asks a question, Louise searches an extensive database to provide the best personalized recommendations and answers.
Brit Haarmans, Innovation Lead at TUI says: “It feels like you’re talking to a friend, and I think that’s the benefit of using agents in combination with AI.”
With its package tours, TUI provides physical representatives at its various resort and hotel destinations, but this is not offered for other product lines such as city breaks. Haarmans explains: “We wanted to add value to our holiday products where we are less present in the customer journey.” At Louise, it’s like customers have a representative with them every step of their journey.
Each morning, Louise proactively provides tips for the day based on the traveler (for example, if they are on a family or business trip). Users can then interact with the chatbot and say, “I’d like to go to the beach instead, do you have any tips for me?” Or: “Today I want to visit these attractions, can you give me some background and booking information?” It also connects to Google Maps and some excursions are bookable directly through Louise, making things even smoother for both the client and the agent.
Keep in mind that people will always be needed
While generative AI represents an exciting new frontier of opportunity, the most important thing to remember is that it is not a replacement for human staff, but a helper. Human prompt generators and moderators will always be needed.
When it comes to using AI chatbots, Haarmans advises: “It takes a lot of time to train AI, especially if you want it to respond in a personalized way.” An AI cannot perceive the emotion or undertone in a message the way a human can, so humans remain essential in moderating comments. TUI has a team that moderates and edits Louise’s answers and also inputs additional information as needed to provide more accurate results.
The same goes for predictive design. While generative AI can bring out a number of different and exciting layouts in seconds, it’s still likely to miss important considerations that aren’t included in the prompt. For example, creating a perfectly sustainable, modern and congestion-free hotel lobby, but forgetting to include toilet facilities in the layout.
An AI solution may be able to give you answers quickly, but all in all, a human still needs to operate and moderate it, ultimately making business decisions based on the information it gives them.
All in all, human-AI collaboration can offer the best of both worlds: the precision and information gathered by the AI, along with the empathetic, personalized approach of a human moderator.
Are you ready to explore the possibilities generative AI can bring to your business, but don’t know where to start? Tcube offers consultancy and prototyping services to help you create a digital roadmap and test new ideas. Please contact us through the Tcube interest form if you have a question: https://go.gov.sg/tcubecommunity
This article was originally published on the Singapore Tourism Board Tcube website.