By Maitane Zarate on 3/28/19 3:24 PM
Though it feels like ages, it hasn’t been so long since we got back from the ITB experience and we have to say, it’s been a couple of busy post-event days! You probably know the feeling. In the end, more than 10.000 exhibitors and 160.000 visitors from all around the world is a lot to digest in just five days, isn’t it?
But once you’re back and you’ve left all the hustle behind (busy schedules, crazy nights and long eventful days full of meetings) it’s time to slow down and breathe again. It’s also the perfect time to look back and think of what you can take from the experience and what you really need to implement to stay on top of your game.
Undoubtedly, the ITB is a great networking event abundant of opportunities and new trends. For us, this year’s edition was full of fruitful and inspirational conversations that left us feeling we’re in the right place with the right solution to offer!
Besides “Technology” and “Sustainability” (which have been the two main topics in 2019), AI took a prominent position as a trend that's here to shake the market. So let’s make it official, shall we?
AI is not just a buzzword. AI is the top trend for the leisure and hospitality industry!
“AI is simply a group of technologies that will increasingly be used to augment human capabilities and make us better at the things we do best,”
- Bob Rogers, chief data scientist at INTEL
So why is everyone making such a fuss about AI? Because it pays off! Simple as that. Capabilities which have always been human-based can now be undertaken by software inexpensively and in a scalable way. AI enables new possibilities and makes processes more efficient (yes, all of them). So no wonder it’s becoming the centre of attention!
Implications of AI for companies and societies won’t go unnoticed. AI will reshape value chains, enable new business models and accelerate growth.
Pricing makes a prime example. As an AI-based company, on this year’s edition, we’ve been introducing 2 different pricing models: Real Time Pricing (RTP) and Name Your Own Price (NYOP) which generate fantastic results and really work when it comes to selling more tickets directly from your own website. Mostly thanks to the use of Machine Learning and AI, but let’s not forget about the smart engineers setting them up at the backend. Building AI.
And since we mention engineers, let me set the record straight on this one: Despite the whole “AI hype” not all companies who claim to be AI based are really AI driven companies.
In fact, Artificial Intelligence is possibly one of the most misused terms in tech these days. As reported by MMC Ventures, 40% of European start-ups that claim to be AI companies don’t really use Artificial Intelligence as a “core” part of their business, but of course, wearing the “AI” tag is an excellent way of attracting investors. Actually, start-ups that claim to work in AI attract between 15-50% more funding than companies who don’t. But “claiming” to be an AI start-up and actually being one are two completely different things. The latter will bring your business to a whole new level.
“Companies that people assume and think are AI companies are probably not.”
- MMC head of research David Kelnar
When companies really do implement Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions in a substantial way, they can improve their customer experience, increase employee performance, and automate many tedious and repetitive work processes. Therefore, the numerous AI use cases are already helping companies in existing sectors with revenue growth and saving costs. Today, applications of AI are almost endless.
Source: The State of AI 2019 Divergence
This year’s ITB edition provided various workshops on cutting edge technologies as well as insights and real-life examples of different ways to apply AI to help companies in these industries be more efficient. Thanks to AI, products are being enhanced, operations are being optimized and better business decisions are being made. But don’t just take our word for it, this recent Deloitte study points in the exact same direction.
HERE'S A QUICK SNAPSHOT OF WHAT TO EXPECT:
Booking platforms will be powered by AI:
Online ticketing and booking platforms that use AI to provide intelligent and tailored offers to each specific visitor are already proliferating and will soon stop being an “option” and become a ”must-have” within these industries. It’s crystal-clear: booking platforms need to adapt to AI or will be completely extinct in just a few years down the line.
It will make big data easier to manage:
AI-powered solutions can be useful not only to scan through data and huge sets of information much quicker, but also to automate a lot of actions regarding the organization and analysis of that information. Collecting and analyzing data is already being simplified by smart technology that makes strategic choices for park and hotel managers, taking under consideration their visitors’ personal characteristics and behavior.
Consumers will become more demanding shoppers
As the use of AI becomes more and more universal with time, consumers will become more demanding (or let me say it cleary, just “spoilt”) and will get used to investing very little effort in their decision-making process when it comes to buying something online. They will have all the information they need at the tip of their fingers, in real time, but will still expect to receive the perfect offers directed to them, just for them. So basically, whoever makes it easier for them, wins. Therefore, venues, parks and attractions will have to respond accordingly and be extremely flexible about what, how and when they deliver their service.
Customer service will reach a whole new level
AI is already transforming customer service in many ways (through automation, personalization, pattern-recognition…). Thanks to AI algorithms, every stage of a retailer’s customer journey can be improved and retailers can now leverage data to engage, monetize and retain customers more effectively. Deep learning algorithms identify patterns and richer data sets than rule-based systems, and can optimise segmentation, as well as channel selection and messaging.
THE AI REVOLUTION:
All in all, what was made very clear at this year’s ITB is that the AI revolution (yes, it’s a revolution) is strongly shaping and transforming our everyday lives by predicting customer’s desire before they even know it and translating that into services and products that can be better approached and presented to each individual.
...and it’s happening NOW! Not in 10 or 20 years. Lots of companies have already invested in implementing these technologies to help them take their businesses to the next level, but there are many others that don’t understand the importance and real value (ROI, baby!) of AI applications and just see all of this as a mere AI innovation “hype”. These companies will be late to the party (and we’re gonna party hard!), so make sure you are not one of them, because if you are not taking AI action today, you will be playing “catch” in the following years.
As Professor Roland Conrady (ITB’s Scientific Director) said, “we see digitalization everywhere in the future”, and whether you are a small or a big player in the hospitality, travel, and leisure industry, your company needs to prepare for the changes that AI and smart technologies will bring ahead.
“The linkage between adept application of AI and competitive advantage appears to be growing stronger. Eleven percent said that adopting AI is of “critical strategic importance” today, but 42 percent believe it will be critical two years from now”
Despite some people still not being ready to embark the AI journey yet, AI will clearly provide the early adopter businesses with a strong competitive advantage and can offer tremendous potential for optimizing online sales (for example, by matching each anonymous online visitor with the perfect offer for them in real time). Just take our partners’ experience after implementing our Ai-powered solution for instance. We uplift their revenue a 30% on average! And the only thing they have to do is add a small line of our code to their script. As easy as that.
Sounds too good to be true? Feel free to sign up for a free pilot and see it for yourself!
"We see digitalisation everywhere in the future. I'm quite sure we will not type in information in our smartphone, but we will talk with it. The offers that we receive from suppliers, they will use artificial intelligence to offer us more individualised packages and offers according to our needs,"
- Professor Roland Conrady, ITB's Scientific Director.
So take this: the days of one-size-fits-all are over. Each person is different, which is why you should be delivering tailored experiences (through your customer journey, on-line booking process, messaging, check-out…) to each individual if you don’t want to stay behind, and if you can do it in real time, while adapting to the world’s continuous changes, better.
AI can help you with that.
Same thing goes for pricing. AI enables price optimization. By connecting the dots through the gathered data, Ai can optimize pricing factors such as price elasticity, profit, revenue, average ticket price, product availability and much more! So, thanks to AI you can say goodbye to traditional pricing models and start leveraging these more sophisticated and personalized ones.
We emphasize personalization because price is strongly related to value, and value is personal.
At Convious we empower your online sales with Artificial Intelligence: Thanks to our data-driven algorithms we can adjust ticket prices according to your online data and considering changing factors such as weather, holidays, etc. In short, our AI-powered platform uses a variety of smart tools to help you engage better, convert more of your online visitors, and overall, #SellMoreDirect.
Because if one thing was made very clear on this year’s edition is that you, dear leisure company, need to embrace AI. Your current vendors and ticketing systems need to embrace it as well. And yes, we know it’s a challenge, since none of these two are equipped to do so. It’s simply not on their DNA, which is why we increasingly see ticketing companies reach out to us to smarten their channels and software with our capabilities.
If you were not able to attend this year’s ITB, don’t worry, you can still take the best parts of what it had to offer (and from the comfort of your own home!). We have it all covered. You can easily learn more about our product by contacting our sales team or just book a free live demo with us!
In summary, ITB Berlin 2019 was a great event to debate and discuss the future role of digital technology in the travel and leisure industries, as well as the challenges and opportunities that will arise. It is always a pleasure attending these events, as they not only give us the chance to meet with partners, potential customers and like-minded professionals, but also to share experiences and knowledge, and make great connections.
The Convious team would like to give a big “thank you” to all the people we met in Berlin for such insightful conversations and making this year’s ITB a great experience. We are already looking forward to an even greater success on ITB 2020 and hope to see you there as well!!!
Let us know what you thought about this year’s ITB in the comment section below! We would love to hear about which stands caught your attention the most, or the highlights of your ITB Berlin experience! Share your thoughts with us and let’s keep the conversation going!