The future of the travel and tourism industry will be shaped by a range of disruptive themes, with artificial intelligence (AI) being one of the themes that will have a significant impact on lodging companies.  

AI refers to software-based systems that use data inputs to make decisions on their own. AI includes an array of technologies and subsets. Within travel and tourism, there is steady adoption of AI-based solutions recognisable across the whole supply chain. From digital assistants to human-less check-in and facial recognition, AI is facilitating smarter and more efficient customer engagement. Beyond servicing the customer, AI can also be utilised for better and more informed contingency management, helping companies make effective decisions. 

AI also demonstrates the multitude of ways that it has helped industries across travel and tourism generally improve the traveller experience. The term ‘personalisation’ has long been circulating the travel sector as companies, operators and tourism boards aim to offer the ultimate experience for individuals. Any technology that can help achieve this goal will prove beneficial and heighten the guest experience and AI can be considered critical in reaching this goal. 

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However, not all companies are equal when it comes to their capabilities and investments in the key themes that matter most to their industry. Understanding how companies are positioned and ranked in the most important themes can be a key leading indicator of their future earnings potential and relative competitive position.   

According to GlobalData’s thematic research report, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Travel and Tourism, leading adopters include: Airbnb, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group and OYO Rooms. 

Insights from top ranked companies  

Airbnb 

Airbnb is a travel marketplace that permits property owners and travellers to connect worldwide for the purpose of renting unique vacation spaces and it currently holds around seven million accommodations across 191 countries. Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb has continued to adopt emerging technologies to heighten its stance in the travel marketplace. AI is recognised as a key theme in company development as its use cases for AI are endless.  

Hilton 

Hilton is a leading player within the lodging industry. Its partnership with IBM, a multinational technology company, has enabled it to continuously roll out innovative solutions driven by AI technology. Identified as one of the first hotels to introduce smart robots into its service offering in 2016 (Connie), Hilton is a key advocate for its industry in utilising AI to both improve customer engagement and drive company efficiency. 

InterContinental Hotels Group 

InterContinental Hotels Group operates around 5,900 hotels across 100 countries worldwide and owns several brands covering all categories from budget to luxury. IHG partnered with Winnow technology in 2019 to curate innovative AI-driven solutions that will help the hospitality leader operate more sustainably. IHG also utilises AI to improve the overall experience for guests both before and during their stay – 2018 saw the hotelier launch AI rooms in Greater China in partnership with Baidu, a Chinese multination technology company where guests can enjoy a more convenient and seamless experience during their stay. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the travel and tourism industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Travel and Tourism

  • Whitbread
  • Four Seasons
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Best Western
  • Mandarin Oriental
  • Shanghai Jin Jiang
  • Radisson Hotel Group
  • Huazhu Group
  • Travelodge Hotels

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Thematic Scorecard ranks companies within a sector based on their overall leadership in the 10 themes that matter most to their industry, generating a leading indicator of their future earnings and relative position within key strategic areas.