Joe McClain - Jun 10, 2024
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The study "Business Travel: A Matter for the Boss" by the German Travel Association revealed that almost all business travelers can envision using AI-based travel chatbots. Twenty-five percent already utilize these technical assistants to explore travel alternatives in case of unforeseen events, empowering them to take control of their travel plans.

Although these smart tools can only partially replace human travel consultants, they offer practical support in various areas. Only three percent of the surveyed business travelers oppose using AI in travel advice, while ten percent view travel chatbots as a mere addition.

On the other hand, one in three believes that chatbots and similar technologies provide advice equivalent to that from a human, and 29 percent even prefer using this technology. Interestingly, individuals under 40 (36 percent) and women (37 percent) prefer AI tools more than average.

Business travelers already rely on AI chatbots for various tasks. The top priority is to present travel options in case of unexpected events like strikes, storms, or cancellations. Fifty-one percent can envision using the travel chatbot's recommendations in such situations. Forty-eight percent utilize the technology for administrative tasks such as requesting invoice copies, and almost as many (46 percent) trust AI-powered suggestions for selecting suitable flights and hotels. Additionally, more than one in three are open to delegating the creation of travel offers or rebooking to a chatbot.

From the perspective of business travelers, technology offers several advantages, with speed being the primary one. More than half of those surveyed consider efficient travel planning, real-time updates on flight delays, and round-the-clock availability to be the most important benefits of chatbots. In a fast-paced business world, travelers do not want to wait long for feedback from booking platforms and prefer to be immediately informed of gate changes at the airport or delays, relieving them of unnecessary stress. Additionally, 43 percent of travelers hope for immediate support with problems such as flight or train cancellations, providing them convenience.

However, speed is not the only advantage. Many business travelers also value the intelligence of technology, which can provide valuable insights from large amounts of data. For 45 percent of travelers, the advantage lies in receiving personalized recommendations based on the analysis of past trips and preferences. Furthermore, 40 percent trust AI to optimize travel routes, saving time and money.

The benefits of AI are not limited to direct customer interactions. Business travel agencies are currently leveraging the technology to process large volumes of data, ensure data consistency, conduct comparisons, and efficiently manage communication channels via phone, email, or chat. These capabilities contribute to faster and improved booking processes for business travelers. AI has become an essential tool for data collection, particularly for travel expense management.

Despite the numerous advantages, survey respondents do not view AI and travel chatbots positively. 48 percent are concerned about potential technical issues or connectivity failures, while approximately 45 percent each harbor worries about data security and potential manipulation by cybercriminals. However, it's important to note that the industry is addressing these concerns, ensuring the safety and reliability of AI chatbots, and thereby instilling a sense of security and trust in the technology.

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