How AI Is Changing the Cruise Industry for the Better
Artificial intelligence is changing everything — the travel industry included.
AI is the simulation of intelligent behavior through computer programs that have been designed to be capable of thinking, acting, and learning like humans. The use of AI is growing rapidly in many fields like healthcare and business, where its use is typically aimed at enhancing worker productivity. However, a key benefit of using artificial intelligence is to learn about customers and provide better customer experiences based on that data.
In recent years, it has made strides in a variety of industries. For example, in healthcare environments, AI-powered tools assist medical professionals with their day-to-day tasks, leaving nurses with more time for delivering one-on-one patient care. In the business world, AI is impacting project management and other business processes. With the transformative power of this technology, it was clearly only a matter of time before the travel industry would begin to see radical change.
That time is now. But how is AI changing the travel industry? Let’s explore the advancement in the possibilities and real-world applications of artificial intelligence for companies in this niche.
AI on the Move
For companies in the travel sector, AI allows travelers to use various tools in creating tailored travel recommendations or services based on those choices. For example:
- Data-driven personalization platforms use sophisticated algorithms, along with a compilation of a traveler’s interests and budget requirements, to sort through options and deliver a personalized itinerary for users.
- KLM Airlines, in partnership with DigitalGenius, uses an AI-powered platform to review customer service-based questions. They then learn from past interactions and answers to provide more convenient replies via several customer service channels.
Hotels are also changing the industry with AI. While most people have heard about changes in hotels that include mobile check-in, concierge messaging, and smart-phone enabled technologies that control room temperature, locks, and curtains, another new concept has hit the industry with great success. Some hotels are collecting personal information upfront, even before a booking is made, that relates to tastes, likes, and dislikes of the traveler.
For example, a hotel booking site might offer potential travelers a menu of choices relating to what they want from a travel experience. The site can then recommend things like personalized lodging choices, must-see sights in the area, and restaurants.
AI in the Cruise Industry
In the passenger cruise industry, growth and benefits of artificial intelligence can be seen for both the companies using the technology and for the passengers.
Royal Caribbean specifically uses AI personalization for enhancing the traveler’s experience. According to Sol Rashidi, Chief Data and Cognitive Officer at Royal Caribbean, the cruise line is inundated with questions like:
- What’s the dress code for a particular restaurant?
- What type of events do you have?
- Can you make reservations for a specialty restaurant?
- We just added two to the party — can we adjust our reservation?
Royal Caribbean is using AI to analyze these inquiries to build out systems to provide answers to passengers, while at the same time lightening the load for customer service workers.
They also use it for the fun and convenience of passengers. August of 2108 saw the launch of a first-of-its-kind tool called SoundSeeker, an AI-equipped that creates soundtracks based on a passenger’s photos. As we’ve covered previously, the tool, a collaboration between Royal Caribbean, Berklee College of Music, and technologists, “ … uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colors in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee. SoundSeeker then finds the musical elements corresponding to each mood in the photo to compose a genuinely distinct audio and visual photo album.”
Luxury cruise lines are using AI as well. MSC Cruises, in partnership with HARMAN, is gearing up to debut an AI powered digital assistant on the MSC Belissima. According to HARMAN, the AI-powered personal assistant can communicate in several languages and “is capable of learning users’ preferences and meeting the needs of a truly modern consumer. It can communicate, order room service, offer quick answers, and act as a 24/7 virtual butler.”
Cruise Planning With AI
One of the most difficult parts of any vacation planning is weeding through options. In an attempt to remedy this, JetBlue has partnered with CruisingStore to make it easier. Data is collected from JetBlue’s cruise travel site and informs suggestions based on a traveler’s preferences, budgetary restrictions, and more.
This data can then be processed using predictive analytics tools to provide meaningful insights for decision-makers at travel companies. By using predictive analytics, travel companies can predict customer needs going forward. Those that can do this best and anticipate future trends will see the greatest success when it comes to marketing.
Regardless of industry, artificial intelligence is seen as a means of empowering companies who use it to collect data, develop proactive solutions based on insights, and provide customized experiences for all involved.
Whether for use as a tool to help businesses enhance their day-to-day tasks by streamlining operations, enabling better data collection, offering personalized experiences to passengers by customizing itineraries or experiences, the use of artificial intelligence is proving to have a positive impact on the highly customer-centric travel industry.
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