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Businesses may view their prospects as a bit more precarious than they’d hoped just a few months ago. Amid fears sparked by the coronavirus, sagging oil prices and a looming economic downturn, it’s hard to believe that we’re barely a month removed from the Dow’s highest closing number in history.

A natural response, in this case, is to look for opportunities to minimize costs and boost revenue. For some, reducing costs quickly could be necessary. The travel industry, for instance, is uniquely vulnerable to this combination of systemic shocks. As such, operators like airlines and OTAs should take this opportunity to review and identify strategies to increase efficiency.

Artificial intelligence, for instance, presents some fascinating new applications for the travel space. AI enables businesses to create a much smoother, more efficient and interconnected process across multiple platforms. The result is a more cost-effective and secure operation with higher customer satisfaction.

Optimizing The Customer Experience

Customers place a premium on the value of excellent customer experiences, especially in digital channels. In fact, 71% of travelers said they viewed the quality of their digital experience as a key factor when booking travel.

So, what does “quality” mean in this context? Well, that same study reveals that nearly half of travelers expect around-the-clock, instantaneous access to live service and to their travel itinerary from their mobile devices. And, even though the average traveler will use between 10 and 12 apps during the process, nearly two-thirds of buyers expect to be able to review their entire trip itinerary in one place.

Meeting customers’ expectations is difficult, but not impossible, with the help of AI technology. The first step is to develop a better understanding of customer pain points and preferences — and identify strategies to optimize those experiences. The IATA Global Passenger Survey identifies several key travel pain points for consumers, as well as ways to resolve them, including:

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