As technology advances, the business travel industry is also experiencing a significant shift. Indeed one of the most notable changes to be seen is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the travel industry. According to Statista, 82% of airlines worldwide expect to try AI technologies in the next three years. In the travel industry, AI can help streamline the business travel booking process and enhance the traveler experience.
With AI-based tools, business travelers can receive personalized trip recommendations and proactive alerts about potential disruptions. Meanwhile, travel managers can leverage AI to secure the best deals on flights and hotels. They can also access a virtual corporate travel consultant that can help them optimize the booking process.
Listed below are some major ways in which AI helps streamline the business travel booking process.
One of the most common reasons for a disorganized booking process is unclear approval workflows. Employees often face confusion about whom to approach to get their trips approved. Moreover, the traditional email method to send trip requests to the approver can cause delays if the approver misses seeing it.
To streamline this process, companies can use travel management software. This software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create automated workflows. So, when an employee submits a travel request, the software redirects it to the manager for approval. The manager can approve or reject the request in just a few clicks. Moreover, one can add as many approvers depending on the type of trip requests.
The software also notifies the approver of a new trip request on the dashboard. This expedites the approval process. Ultimately, an organized workflow makes the booking process more efficient, saving the time and effort of employees.
Personalized Travel Experience
Each employee has unique personal preferences when it comes to traveling. Business trips that fulfill the needs of employees allow them to be more productive. However, choosing travel packages from a vast list can be time-consuming and overwhelming for employees.
To solve this problem, you can use travel management software that deploys AI. AI and machine learning algorithms gather and analyze employees’ search history, needs, and budgets. Next, the algorithm uses this data to identify patterns and present customized packages. These packages consider both the travel policy of the company and travelers’ interests.
Ultimately, AI recommendations not only streamline travel bookings but also improve traveler satisfaction. Moreover, travel managers can use AI to monitor employees’ interests and partner with vendors accordingly.
Improved Customer Support
Business travelers may have multiple questions while making bookings. For example, what is the airlines’ baggage policy? Or what are the visa and vaccination requirements for the destinations? Or how do I cancel my booking? However, travel managers may not always be able to address each traveler’s questions individually.
This is where AI chatbots or virtual travel assistants come in. These chatbots provide help to the traveler throughout the booking process. They can assist in completing reservations, managing cancellations, and changing itineraries. In addition, some AI chatbots are also capable of understanding voice commands. These are really helpful for travelers on the go or those with mobility problems.
Furthermore, AI chatbots are available 24/7. This feature allows travelers to ask questions at any time, regardless of their time zone. The chatbot also offers multilingual support to travelers. By supporting multiple languages, chatbots can cater to employees across the globe.
Pricing for airfares and hotels is subject to frequent changes due to several factors, such as seasonality, demand, and availability. These changes can sometimes result in steep price increases, leaving travel managers in a difficult position.
To combat these challenges, travel managers can use AI-based software that accurately foresees airfare and hotel prices. It uses historical data and market trends to make predictions. Further, it considers factors such as travel policy and airline amenities. This way, travel managers can get to know about the best time to buy air tickets.
Moreover, the AI-based tool notifies the travel manager if there is a change in price or availability. As a result, it saves travel managers from the hassle of manually tracking packages, ensuring that they get the best deal.
Improved Risk Mitigation
Safety is a critical aspect of any business trip. When business travelers feel secure, they can focus better on their work. However, manually assessing safety risks can be time-consuming. Even then, human error and inconsistency can impact the reliability of the information.
Fortunately, with the help of AI, travel managers can predict the risks their employees might face. By analyzing data such as ongoing delays and weather forecasts, AI can predict disruptions in advance.
AI can further assist travel managers in identifying safety risks by analyzing historical data of an area, such as crime rates, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks. Travel managers can use the forecasts to block high-risk locations. This ensures that employees do not accidentally book trips to risky areas, thus streamlining bookings.
Better Data-driven Decisions
Travel managers have access to a vast amount of travel booking data. However, tapping into this data to gain actionable insights can be difficult. This is where AI-powered virtual travel consultants can be immensely helpful.
AI virtual consultants use data analytics to identify last-minute and out-of-policy bookings. Then it provides step-by-step instructions to travel managers on how to streamline the booking process.
For example, if employees frequently make last-minute bookings, the VTC can suggest a policy change that encourages early bookings. Similarly, it can provide recommendations to improve policy compliance. These tips help managers improve their travel booking process.
Leverage AI To Optimize Travel Bookings
It’s evident that AI has a major impact on the business travel booking process. However, travel managers need to invest in the right tools to gain the benefits of AI.
ITILITE is an AI-based travel management software that can help you with this. It provides personalized recommendations, assists travelers 24/7, and simplifies bookings. Meanwhile, travel managers can gain the best insights on how to optimize their travel program with the help of a virtual travel consultant.
Schedule a free demo to learn more about how you can leverage AI in your travel program.