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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE


the organisation. CWT advises organisations to integrate data sources. “So we take the travel database of everything you have booked and everything you have paid and then I need to know demographics and then I need to know pay grades,” says Tyree. “I take the HR data and integrate that with the corporate finance system and now I have a 360° view of travel – who is travelling, the business and, more importantly, how the business expenditure correlates to travel. “Then you can say for every individual and every cost centre, I can correlate your revenue back to travel expenditure and then you can create a KPI.” Tyree adds that data integration also enables organisations to tackle other challenges, such as staff satisfaction and retention.


AS AN INDUSTRY WE HAVE THE


ABILITY TO USE BUZZWORDS WAY BEFORE THE ACTUAL SOLUTIONS ARE READY FOR PRIMETIME


“The travel industry is a little behind other sectors. That is because travel products do have specifics,” Mesnage says. “You cannot consume travel as much as books or shoes. It is perishable – if you don’t travel it is gone.” Although AI may only just be entering the business travel departures area, in other sectors it has already arrived and begun to unpack its bags (see box, p60). Both the legal and health sectors report that AI is helping those sectors automate tasks, such as paralegal research or analysis of MRI scans,


buyingbusinesstravel.com 2019 MAY/JUNE 63


AI AND THE TRAVELLER


“The way AI and technology is going, it will help us from a wellbeing perspective,” says Michael McSperrin (left), head of global facilities and support services at Alexander Mann Solutions. “We are using predictive analytics for suggesting hotels the traveller should book based on messages such as: ‘52 per cent of your colleagues have stayed


there’. This provides reassurance and improves wellbeing when they travel.” McSperrin hopes that eventually they can enable employees to see each other’s travel


plans and find further opportunities to meet peers and collaborate, which again can increase the wellbeing of the traveller by not travelling alone, which benefits the organisation.


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