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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE


Sacha Tomey, chief technology officer and director of Adatis, a data analytics specialist, says organisations will benefit from better revenue management as travel buyers gain access to greater insight from data on seasonal travel and price fluctuations as a result of major conferences or sporting events, for example. “Data-driven technologies will help us and our clients to execute change very quickly,” adds Eric Tyree, chief data scientist at CWT. The TMC has been at the forefront of using data to improve the service it offers its clients and Tyree is forthright about the need for the change in focus. “We are in a very commoditised market and we have to change fast,” he says. Tyree believes that TMCs got themselves into the same difficult situation as the facilities management services sector, competing purely on price. This was one of the factors in the collapse of construction company Carillion and the recent difficulties at Interserve. He believes offering data and technology-led solutions will provide buyers with an improved service.


AI will not only improve the technologies of the suppliers, the business processes used by corporate travel buyers will also improve. Michael McSperrin, head of global facilities and support services at Alexander


Mann Solutions, says the talent and recruitment firm is using a simple chatbot to respond to travel policy inquiries within the business, which has 4,500 staff, 1,500 of whom are regular travellers. “The need for human intervention is reduced; you are getting people to do more interesting tasks,” he says of how his team has reduced the time they spend providing answers to questions about travel policy and process. McSperrin explains that, in essence, chatbots match an answer to a question. With chat already in use for candidates and recruiters, adding it to the corporate travel function was “logical”. “If your business is driven by technology improvement and streamlining, then your travel programme needs to reflect that,” he says. Amadeus’s Mesnage agrees. “AI is


empowering the booker and the end user,” she says. “It is streamlining the operations of customers. We know that travel disruption is extremely destructive for both the traveller and the booker, so being able to optimise and predict disruption is of great value.”


ADOPTING AI Tyree at CWT adds that AI and data tools enable the travel booker to analyse the travel behaviour of their organisation and improve the experience both for the traveller, but also


THE OTHER SECTORS RACING AHEAD WITH AI


Travel companies should look outside the sector for inspiration. For example, energy services company Mitie is using AI tools to monitor the buildings environment for the Red Bull Aston Martin formula one team. Mitie surveyed 270 staff to establish which conditions helped them work best, then developed a “comfort policy” around temperature, air quality, lighting, humidity and noise. It added 400 sensors around the


building to collect data and, combined with the company’s own productivity measures, created perfect working conditions.


60 MAY/JUNE 2019 Technology services business


Nutanix is using AI sales automation tools to improve the value and productivity of its sales teams. In the legal sector, some of the


world’s largest legal services firms are using AI and machine learning to digest and analyse case law to direct professionals to the most useful information when forming a legal argument. In the NHS, trials are being


conducted on using machine learning to analyse oncology scans and direct clinicians to the cases that require specialist analysis.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


AI IS SOME


CLEVER MATHS THAT CAN BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS


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