Spring Clean Your Data to Make Your Tour Operations Efficient
February 29, 2024Read More
Every time we turn on the news, there’s a new story about AI. It seems to be everywhere all at once! Maybe you’ve even used ChatGPT just to see what all the fuss is about. It’s an exciting (and slightly scary) technology that will have a long-term influence on our lives. And that, of course, includes how we’ll travel.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. It involves creating machines that can mimic human-like thinking processes.
(Ironic side note: this definition comes from ChatGPT)
The term “artificial intelligence” was coined by John McCarthy in 1955. However, the concept of using machines to think and function like humans started a few years earlier when Alan Turing published Computing Machinery and Intelligence.
Fast forward 75ish years and AI has “suddenly” exploded into the mainstream of our daily lives. We see it when we use facial recognition to unlock our phones, ask a digital assistant for help, use banking apps, drive smart cars, and even customize our entertainment experiences.
When Netflix recommends a show for you, that’s AI at work!
AI isn’t going away. It will continue to become an inexorable part of our daily routines. The key is figuring out how to reconcile the benefits of artificial intelligence with our human experience.
We could do a much deeper dive into AI, but let’s shift our focus to its impact on group travel businesses. Let’s talk about how AI will change the way we plan group travel.
We are only just beginning to understand how AI can be used to improve travel experiences. But incorporating it into your group trip now already comes with some big benefits.
If you’re planning international travel, AI tools can be a lifesaver in bridging communication gaps. Platforms like Google Translate, DeepL, and (yes) ChatGPT make interacting with locals as easy as speaking into your phone.
AI-powered tools provide real-time updates on travel logistics like traffic, weather conditions, closures, etc. This helps group trip leaders and tour directors make quick decisions in response to any possible changes or challenges.
Use AI to make your next trip even better! Analyze participant feedback not only using what they say, but how they say it. Interpret emotions and attitudes expressed in surveys to understand what worked and what didn’t. Then, use this information to refine your future trip plans and address any areas that need improvement.
While AI can be an asset in your group adventures, it shouldn’t replace the meticulous attention to detail and personal touch of a group trip planner.
Group trips have many moving parts that technology can’t address. There are personalities at play, special needs to address, and administrative requirements to meet. A group trip planner has the experience to navigate these delicate waters and advocate on your behalf.
Understanding travelers and what makes a trip memorable is essential. It’s the personal touches and relationships that keep your customers coming back.
Personal connections carry a lot of weight with the itinerary as well. Trip planners leverage long-standing relationships with vendors and know which attractions work best for groups – helping them keep costs down and interest high.
Understanding the unique dynamics of a group trip is what a group trip planner does best!
When the unexpected happens (and the past few years have taught us that it does) we rely on human help to deal with it.
Knowledgeable and well-trained staff are vital in an emergency – whether related to health, weather, disaster, or other unforeseen circumstances.
The kind of immersive learning that happens on a group trip is not one-size-fits-all. Travel is an exciting introduction to new places, cultures, and experiences. And while technology can augment the experience, a tour director truly brings it to life!
A good tour director provides context and insights that help your travelers understand and respect a destination and its culture. They are well-versed in local customs and familiar with those special, must-see spots.
There’s no denying that AI will change the way we plan group travel (and every other facet of our lives.) But while it promises terrific travel enhancements, it can’t replace the relationships and expertise a seasoned trip planner brings to the table!
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