Author: David Newington, Commercial Director APAC, AirPlus International
You may be wondering what on earth artificial intelligence – something that sounds like it belongs in a science fiction movie – has to do with corporate travel. The truth is that the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to capture, analyse, automate, personalise and predict data is becoming increasingly more prevalent in corporate travel.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence refers to technology which can analyse and learn from data. Like humans, artificial intelligence can solve problems, identify patterns and apply reasoning, unlike your standard computer which follows pre-set instructions.
So, how can artificial intelligence be applied to corporate travel and what are the benefits?
One of the most common uses of artificial intelligence today is to personalise the user experience. Think about when Netflix or Spotify recommend films or songs you may like, Amazon suggests other products to add to your shopping cart, or you receive an email from a store recommending products based on your shopping history. Each of these examples demonstrates the use of artificial intelligence which has analysed the data, identified a pattern and generated personalised recommendations.
In corporate travel, artificial intelligence can be used to personalise the experience of the business traveller. A lot of data is captured on business travellers which can be put to work to tailor the experience. From better understanding traveller preferences and needs, to applying this data to make recommendations or predictions for future trips, the opportunities are endless.
Artificial intelligence is being used by many travel management companies to automate corporate travel bookings, predict what a business traveller may need to book going forward and forecast pricing for flights or hotels. This enables companies to better manage their costs and limits any budget surprises down the track. It also ensures the process is as speedy and efficient as possible.
One of the benefits of artificial intelligence is that it can reduce human error. AirPlus International has been exploring the benefits of this through a new pilot program which uses artificial intelligence to optimise and supplement missing transaction data, delivering time and cost efficiencies.
The process works by identifying missing field data that hasn’t been entered due to human error and making recommendations for what those fields are likely to be, based on previous entries.
This significantly reduces reconciliation time and prevents accounts from continually needing to go back to business travellers on transactions. The process is currently in pilot stage with five major customers and will be rolled out later this financial year. So far the average data quality of transactions reaches 99 percent under the program.
The applications for artificial intelligence in corporate travel are endless. In the years ahead we can expect artificial intelligence to disrupt the industry significantly, delivering greater efficiencies and improved business traveller experiences.
About the author:
David Newington is the Commercial Director for APAC at AirPlus International. David has held various senior management positions in corporate travel management in Australasia, Asia and North America over the last 15 years. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidnewington AirPlus International is a leading international provider of solutions for the day-to-day management of business travel. 51,000 corporate customers count on AirPlus for the payment and analysis of their business trip costs. Products and services are marketed worldwide under the AirPlus International brand. The AirPlus Company Account is the most successful central bill account based on UATP. More information is available at www.airplus.com.