Automation Case Study: The Travel Industry


An integral player in our founding team, Leslie Dundas takes a look at how automation is affecting one of his passions – travel

We all know the travel industry is growing because we all travel more. More for work and more for play, certainly more than our parents did. The statistics back this up. World Tourism Association research shows that 46 million more overnight visitors travelled internationally in 2017 compared to 2016. Up 3.9%, the figures are set to grow year on year for the foreseeable future. And how has the travel industry both coping with, and driving demand? – significant investment in digital automation.

According to eMarketer, the total digital spend in travel is estimated to reach $8.28bn by 2020 and 50% of brands in travel are now buying ads programmatically. McKinsey estimates that automating processes can save airlines a substantial 8% to 10% in costs in affected areas.

We’re not just talking about chatbots and robots in this industry, there are a plethora of other things going on inside the machine. There’s the use of predictive analytics to personalise according to user preferences and external event, for example Red Roof Inn’s use of weather and flight data to predict flight cancellations. This is both an algorithm to automatically determine prices and intel to launch a targeted marketing campaign at mobile device users in areas likely to be affected by weather.

Weather is just one application. Algorithms are being developed to automatically adjust prices and communication in response to several verticals, and manipulate bids for each hour of each day of the week. Even unexpected things that would require timely emergency human input can be set up seamlessly: the travel sector can be strongly affected by certain news items like terrorist activity, so airlines are developing tools to automatically adapt destination preferences, prices, and journey frequencies.

Who knows where the automatic innovation will take travel next? Better places, that’s for sure. The travel industry is taking huge steps to ensure preparation for the fast moving world of today.

Add a comment