“Travellers seek efficient and personalised solutions to plan their trips in today’s fast-paced world.”
Trip.com Group’s Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Board is giving a keynote address this morning at ITB Asia on “How AI is Powering Travel”
ITB Asia News caught up with James Liang ahead of the show in an exclusive interview to discuss how Trip.com Group is harnessing AI and technology to provide travellers with an enhanced experience.
Could you provide some real-world examples or case studies showcasing how AI technology has directly impacted the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of travel services provided by Trip.com Group?
The current AI technology can help streamline travel planning, offering personalised recommendations, comprehensive travel plans, and a consolidated booking service.
In addition to launching TripGen which then became TripGenie this year, we’ve implemented AI-driven data filtering, handling a vast amount of high-quality non-structural travel data, which could include user reviews and posts. With advanced AI technology, we go beyond providing products and services to inspire those who may not know where to start. Our personalised understanding of each user means we look at a user’s trends and preferences. Based on this information, we curate relevant tourist destinations, preferred hotel options, best flight deals, and local tourist activities.
We have also launched an array of AI-powered tools, such as our AI-empowered curated lists: “Trip.Trends”, “Trip.Best”, and “Trip.Deals”. By presenting algorithmic curated lists of options based on user preferences and real-time data, users can quickly compare and choose from a selection of highly relevant travel products. The ability to include real-time information also helps users make cost-effective decisions by accessing the most up-to-date and competitive travel options.
How are some specific ways in which AI is improving customer service within the travel sector, and how is Trip.com Group embracing this transformation?
Customers are always our first priority at Trip.com Group. Over the years, we have leveraged AI technology to resolve customer requests more efficiently and precisely.
AI customer service finds its primary application in automated classification and responses via calls, online chat and emails. At the heart of this technology is machine learning and natural language processing algorithms that swiftly and accurately identify and categorise customer queries and needs.
Nowadays, our human employees only need to handle the more complex incidents. Most of the typical questions are taken care of by AI chatbot, which includes both text and voice. Through text, our AI chatbot resolved 160 million text-bot inquiries last year, achieving a self-service rate of 75% of our global customer service inquiries. Through voice, our AI chatbox resolved 40 million phone consultations last year, achieving a 50% self-service rate. This means many customers no longer have to endure long phone queues or wait for email replies; they can instantly access relevant answers and solutions.
Trip.com Group’s AI travel assistant
Trip.com Group launched TripGen, their first AI travel assistant, in February of this year. In July, they enhanced its features, and TripGen became TripGenie, a more intuitive travel planning assistant. According to James Liang, the advanced AI technology built into TripGenie allows Trip.com Group to offer consumers improved user engagement; provide highly relevant and accurate recommendations; elevate travel and itinerary planning; provide quick conversational answers; and make the booking process more efficient.
When asked what set TripGenie apart from other solutions on the market, James Liang emphasised the assistant’s use of human feedback: “What makes TripGenie exceptional is its reliance on our extensive proprietary database from Trip.com Group and its effective utilisation of human feedback. Our algorithm processes a vast 20 billion travel-related data points, supported by a team of in-house experts worldwide who curate and verify travel content, drawing on their deep knowledge of local cultures and attractions.”
In the future, James Liang said that Trip.com Group would continue to invest in TripGenie, notably developing itinerary sharing and integrating existing bookings. The former will allow travellers to share itineraries through social media enabling “collaborative real-time editing by multiple individuals”. The latter will aim to help travellers “refine and optimise” their itinerary for an improved experience.
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How AI is Powering Travel
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