I have seen the future of travel bookings and it is…

…simple and intuitive. How you do your travel bookings is about to change. I had the pleasure to attend #smtnetwork (http://smtnetwork.fi/) event today in Vantaa. Amber Stauffer presented Neo travel management system from KDS and the system is so simple, it makes travel planning seem almost pleasurable. Just add where your journey starts, where you need to go and when you need to be there. It utilises Google data and various other service providers to plan the whole trip, from public transportation or taxi to flights and hotels. Your whole trip behind a single booking button.

At this moment, the system is for corporate travel, but there is no question that consumer travel bookings are also moving into that direction. Everything you need for your trip behind one booking button. Different platforms discuss with another to create seamless and pleasurable travel booking experience. You can also adjust the plan, compare different options and possibilities in one place and everything you do teaching the machine learning algorithms behind the program to perform better in the future. No need to book hotels from one place, flights from another, tickets from third and activities from fourth when a system understands and communicates with all different online booking systems.

Machine learning travel bookings
Amber Stauffer from KDS giving a live demo of Neo

Intelligent tourism systems

This is already very close to what I wrote a while back about intelligent tourism. Machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) based on those is already a reality. Speech recognition technology is developing rapidly, enabling us to create more and more intuitive ways to interact with machines. Surprisingly soon we will be wondering how booking a travel could ever be so cumbersome as it is now. This kind of technology will also enable mass customization of travel packages. AI assistants can also constantly look for cheap travel possibilities for certain time period and provide tremendous assistance in helping consumers make better decisions. This will, of course, have a huge impact on how and where you will travel.

Technology needs to be simple and intuitive for people to use and adopt. AI will help people to communicate with technology and travel-booking process will probably be one that is going to change the fastest in the tourism field because of machine learning technology.

By the way, SMT is the only company in Finland that provides Neo to its corporate customers. Not an advertisement, just a fact. You can even take the system for a test drive for free.

I study how changes in technology and consumer behaviour affect tourism marketing. Programme director of International Master’s Degree Programme at University of Eastern Finland Business School.

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