Recently there has been a lot of buzz centered around the popular subject of AI (Artificial Intelligence), particularly within the travel industry. The question is "Will AI replace travel advisors entirely?" Well, we are here to tell you despite AI's capacity to revolutionize multiple industries, including travel, it is essential to acknowledge that AI is unlikely to replace travel advisors entirely. Instead, it is expected to collaborate with them, contributing to an improved overall travel experience. So let's delve into five reasons why AI will not replace travel advisors but rather work alongside them to enhance the overall travel experience:
So you open Chat GPT on your web browser and you type, I am planning to visit Bali. Tell me more about it and why I should choose it.
The response to this prompt will be helpful and give you a basic understanding of Bali, what it is most known for, what you can do depending on the season and a few compelling reasons why you should visit. That is because AI is designed to analyze vast amounts of data and trends to provide personalized travel recommendations to travelers. However, it lacks the human touch and emotional intelligence that travel advisors possess. Travel advisors take the time to get to know their clients; what they like, dislike, where they stay, where they have traveled to, where they want to go, etc. This way, they can understand a traveler's unique preferences, interests, and specific requirements, and offer tailored recommendations that align with their individual preferences.
Staying with the theme of traveling to Bali, now you want to know where you should go, and what you should see. So you type something like, I’m traveling to Bali for 10 days and nine nights in August. Please create me a travel itinerary that is structured with a breakfast, lunch and dinner plus activities in both the morning and daytime for me and my family of four. Please provide sights and activities that are most optimal and near each other for each day. Also recommend the best places to eat nearby and opportunities to relax. Also, provide recommendations for the best hotels that are within walking distance of the hotels.
Chat GPT will respond with a detailed itinerary that looks and sounds good as you're reading through it. However, most travel advisors who have tested this prompt have noticed a few very important details that have been incorrect:
- For a multi-city itinerary, where does this language model have your trip starting and ending? Are you flying into an airport on one side of the country, sightseeing and staying in a hotel there, but then the next day going to the opposite side of the country and returning to the same hotel? The chronological order of the itinerary may not logically make the most sense. It may suggest the best spots to visit and see, but are they in the order that makes the most sense?
- The cutoff date of the technology information of Chat GPT is September 2021. You cannot rely on this to give you the most up-to-date travel information, country requirements, VISA & passport information, etc.
AI might excel at suggesting popular destinations, but when it comes to crafting complex and customized trips that involve multiple stops, unique experiences, and logistics, human expertise is invaluable. Travel advisors can piece together all the elements seamlessly and efficiently.
Relationship building is a fundamental aspect of the travel advisory experience, and it goes beyond merely providing travel recommendations. Travel advisors invest time and effort into getting to know their clients on a personal level, building trust and rapport that extends far beyond a single transaction. In contrast, AI lacks the emotional intelligence and consciousness needed to form genuine connections. While AI algorithms can process vast amounts of data and provide recommendations based on historical patterns, they are limited to the information available in the data set. AI cannot empathize with clients, interpret subtle cues, or understand the emotions behind their travel decisions.
Handling Unforeseen Situations & Crisis Management
Travel often comes with unexpected challenges like flight cancellations, natural disasters, or sudden itinerary changes. In these situations, travelers need real-time assistance from experienced professionals who can quickly find alternatives and mitigate disruptions. AI cannot just "pick up the phone" and call their on-site DMC or airline agent to rebook a cancelled flight. A travel advisor is aware of when you are traveling, how you are traveling and even knows all the little details to your trip. They are quick to problem-solve and provide real-time assistance and reassurance that one little hiccup does not ruin the rest of your trip.
Niche & Specialty Travel
AI algorithms tend to focus on mainstream and popular travel options due to the availability of data. Travelers with specific interests, niche hobbies, or a desire to explore lesser-known destinations might find that AI recommendations fall short of meeting their expectations. Travel advisors possess a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and connections that extend beyond what AI algorithms can offer. Their understanding of diverse travel options and local insights enables them to cater to the specific interests and preferences of their clients. Travel advisors can recommend hidden gems, lesser-known destinations, and niche experiences that align with the traveler's unique tastes. By tapping into their network of contacts and local expertise, travel advisors can curate customized itineraries that deliver exceptional and tailored travel experiences.
While AI can undoubtedly contribute to the travel advisory process by automating tasks, streamlining information retrieval, and offering data-driven insights, it cannot replicate the depth of human understanding and emotional connection that travel advisors provide. By leveraging AI for the advisory process, travel advisors can focus more on building relationships, offering personalized recommendations, and providing emotional support – all crucial elements that contribute to a truly fulfilling travel experience. The synergy between AI and human expertise can lead to an elevated level of service and customer satisfaction in the travel industry.