The Business Travel Magazine April/May 2019





Can TMCs use data and artificial intelligence to improve traveller wellbeing

and duty of care processes? Linda Fox reports

Duty of care and traveller

wellbeing are considered the

two biggest challenges for

business travel buyers in 2019.

A survey from Traveldoo released earlier

this year reveals 73% of buyers ranked duty

of care as the biggest challenge, followed by

traveller wellbeing at 70% and data security

at 65%. The finding is supported by similar

research from FCM, which showed duty of

care remains high on the agenda this year

alongside distribution concerns and data.

The travel management company also

stresses the increasing need for TMCs to

incorporate data into traveller safety, no

matter which booking channel is used.

With so much talk about machine learning

and artificial intelligence, as well as other

emerging technologies such as augmented

and virtual reality, TMCs are beginning to

explore how they might make best use of

these developments.

One TMC sees applications for AI and

machine learning in predicting the likelihood

of disruption and being proactive in finding

alternative travel arrangements.

Sarah Hale, Director of Engineering at Click

Travel, says it is already exploring the use of

AI with its travel assistant to help determine

what responses to queries can be

automated depending on how frequently

they are asked and the speed with

which they can be resolved.

The tech is going to have to advance

to become truly useful in these scenarios,

but it’s exciting to think these opportunities

may be part of the standard travelling

experience in the future,” says Hale.

Risk mitigation

business Drum

Cussac believes

machine learning

has the potential

to revolutionise

how companies approach and manage risk.

In its Future of Risk report the company’s

Chief Technology Officer, Alistair Wyse, says

technology could be employed to tailor

alerts to specific travellers as opposed to

the more blanket approach used today.

Wyse says machine learning can be used

to identify who may be impacted by an

incident based on their location, as well as

past behaviour such as mode of transport.

He also sees potential for machine

learning in pre-travel training which draws

on detailed profile information including

past behaviour and experiences.

The company goes a step further by

imagining how augmented reality might be

used with machine learning to provide

travellers with a virtual overlay of risks in

real time and in an area they are visiting.

It also foresees a scenario for security

managers to use virtual reality to review

incidents and fine tune response.

While much of this may still sound

science fiction, a number of

companies have incorporated

emerging technologies into

prototypes. Concur, for example,

released details last year of a VR-based

duty of care initiative. For many

however, there is still a lot of

work needed in just getting

the basics right.

Machine learning

has the potential to

revolutionise how companies

approach and manage risk”

Mike Atherton, Chief Executive of Mantic

Point, a specialist in mobile technology, says

what the travel management community

needs most is “contextually relevant

information at the right time”.

But even before that a crisis management

plan must be in place. “Technology won’t

deliver unless people know how to act

during an event,” he says.

Once that’s there, he believes the

role of technology currently is in

reducing the time it takes for a

travel manager to

take action.


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