You, Me and the Machine
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t control everything. When faced with extraordinary events, resilience and reinvention are often the only recourse.
Fast-forward a few years from the height of the pandemic, and travel has roared back. But as the industry finds its footing in the wake of unprecedented upheaval, a collection of forces – some that have evolved over many years, and others now progressing at a dizzying pace – stand ready to transform how travel businesses must operate to compete. Once again, travel sits on the cusp of massive change.
Powerful advances in artificial intelligence could have massive implications for every aspect of travel – from how businesses operate internally to how consumers experience the world. Even more alarming is the pace of change. Just when we think we might understand how to leverage this increasingly sophisticated technology, the Machine has moved on, making deeper inroads into our industry and demanding a rethink of our products, services and processes.
Is AI the great equalizer or will it simply exacerbate the inequalities that exist in our industry? Will travelers trust their trip-planning to the algorithm, and who will make the necessary investments required to harness its remarkable potential? And for an industry built on relationships, what does it portend if AI can replace us?
Less sci-fi but no less serious, the Machine encompasses other powerful elements that make success anything but certain. Travel’s titans – those entrenched players with seemingly unlimited resources – continue to tighten their grip on markets, segments and distribution channels, lengthening the odds for others to establish an edge. Meanwhile, governments worldwide eye the industry with ever-increasing scrutiny (and regulation), while economic factors raise the bar for survival.