How AI is im­prov­ing the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence

Amit Taneja, chief business of­fi­cer — in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, Clear­trip, ex­plores how an­a­lyt­ics is defin­ing travel in a dig­i­tal-first world

Aviation Business - - DEPARTURE LOUNGE -

In the com­ing years, AI will have rev­o­lu­tionised re­tail and travel ex­pe­ri­ences. Us­ing ma­chine learn­ing, nat­u­ral lan­guage un­der­stand­ing and pro­cess­ing, AI will be able to an­a­lyse cus­tomer sen­ti­ment and feed­back, and even mood, at scale, pre­ci­sion, and speed.

We see a fu­ture where the ma­jor­ity of ini­tial cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tions will be man­aged with­out a hu­man, AI and data an­a­lyt­ics are en­abling com­pa­nies to an­tic­i­pate a cus­tomer’s next need be­fore they even know it.

Data an­a­lyt­ics plays a ma­jor role at Clear­trip, and helps shape de­ci­sion-mak­ing across all key business func­tions. From the propen­sity to book mod­els which looks at hun­dreds of data points, to our life­time value scor­ing for new cus­tomers. An­a­lyt­ics is defin­ing the jour­ney that has to be un­der­taken to thrive in an in­creas­ingly dig­i­tal-first world.

Our an­a­lyt­ics teams spend an enor­mous amount of time look­ing at con­sumer be­hav­iour. As a com­pany we mea­sure hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent at­tributes and iden­tify prob­lem state­ments to con­sider be­fore em­bark­ing on a prod­uct de­vel­op­ment jour­ney.

AI it­self is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated and we need to not only keep up, but stay ahead.

Voice is a tech­nol­ogy that has been

heav­ily in­vested in. It is one of those tools that makes dis­cov­ery eas­ier and swifter by elim­i­nat­ing the need for mul­ti­ple in­puts. When we in­te­grate this with our cus­tomers’ book­ing be­hav­iour and pref­er­ences, we be­lieve we will add con­sid­er­able value to this mode of dis­cov­ery and book­ing, moving to­wards mak­ing travel sim­ple.

While ma­chine learn­ing is at the heart of cus­tomer ac­qui­si­tion en­gines, it is also used to pro­vide bet­ter cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences. Data an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing can be used to stream­line search and dis­cov­ery by re­tain­ing the travel-re­lated in­for­ma­tion pre­vi­ously en­tered by users across de­vices and plat­forms. This not only en­ables fa­cil­i­tates a smoother book­ing process, but also im­proves user re­ten­tion.

We also utilise data sci­ence mod­els for cash-back op­ti­mi­sa­tion, of­fer­ing more per­son­alised deals to users and im­prov­ing con­ver­sions. This ex­tends to the likes of fare alerts when we ex­pect pric­ing to increase or drop, to rec­om­men­da­tions of ex­pe­ri­ences and des­ti­na­tions.

We know that per­son­al­i­sa­tion gives cus­tomers a feel­ing of ‘be­spoke’ ser­vice and thanks to data an­a­lyt­ics, cus­tomers can re­ceive unique of­fers and pro­mo­tions, de­liv­ered at ex­actly the right time, to the right de­vice, even the mes­sage it­self, tai­lored to suit the cus­tomer. From guid­ance on when to book flights to when to fly, ma­chine learn­ing al­lows a cus­tomer to have any pos­si­ble chal­lenges, fully re­solved.

Most leisure travel itin­er­ar­ies are flex­i­ble; cus­tomers look­ing to make a travel plan for the third week of Septem­ber might be agree­able to fly­ing out in the first week of Oc­to­ber if they can get bet­ter fares then.

Solv­ing this re­quires ex­ten­sive ma­chine learn­ing and data an­a­lyt­ics ca­pa­bil­i­ties. This is vi­tal in times when cus­tomers are de­mand­ing more, when star rat­ings and fa­mous des­ti­na­tions are no longer as sought af­ter. Today’s trav­eller wants unique ex­pe­ri­ences, bou­tique ho­tels, off-the-beaten-track des­ti­na­tions — Sara­jevo is one such des­ti­na­tion that has re­cently surged in pop­u­lar­ity with Mid­dle East trav­ellers.

Big data is help­ing com­pa­nies move from what its staff think is im­por­tant to what the cus­tomer thinks is im­por­tant. At Clear­trip, we have in­tro­duced cut­tingedge fea­tures in­clud­ing Flex­i­fly, an of­fer­ing de­signed to save trav­ellers from the heavy charges associated with amend­ing flight book­ings, and 2-d Fare vs Du­ra­tion Fil­ter, which pro­vides a com­par­a­tive trade-off be­tween flight du­ra­tion and fare for long-haul flights.

Newer tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions have al­ready driven a lot of dis­rup­tion in tra­di­tional travel pro­cesses. Travel will be­come faster, smarter, and more con­tex­tu­alised. The scale of this dis­rup­tion is only bound to increase in the near fu­ture, which is why com­pa­nies like Clear­trip in­vest in con­stantly up­grad­ing tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties to drive op­er­a­tional dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and re­tain our po­si­tion as the re­gion’s leading on­line travel por­tal.

Data an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing can be used to stream­line search and dis­cov­ery by re­tain­ing the travel-re­lated in­for­ma­tion pre­vi­ously en­tered by users across de­vices and plat­forms.”

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