Leveraging AI in Travel.

AI_travel_blog

Companies that leverage AI services are able to operate around the clock whether it's online with chatbots or on the ground with virtual assistants and voice-technology. 


We talk a lot in digital about enhancing the customer experience, and when we look at AI, it is there to pave the way for brands looking to take the next step in this journey. As mentioned above, chatbots are being used more and more, with brands using them as a means of being operational 24/7, and the ability to serve content to the user without them needing to hunt around for it. i.e. your FAQs, where your hotels are, and which one has a spa. 


Chatbots are there to simplify and enhance the user's experience and to help brands increase conversions. Research conducted by Booking.com tells us that 29% of travellers are comfortable letting a computer plan their trip and 50% say it doesn't matter who plans it for them as long as their questions get answered! With chatbots, travel brands benefit from an increase in conversions as well as operational performance as AI doesn't need regular breaks or monthly salaries. 


There's a big opportunity for travel companies to take AI to the next level by introducing voice-activated assistants. Already, we're seeing 'smart hotel rooms' where guests can control the temperature and lights with voice. Virtual assistants allow guests to ask questions, make reservations and get real-time recommendations based on their customer profile. 


AI can also be used to gather data and analysis; helping brands draw conclusions about their customers and enabling them to set rules around legacy so that they can offer a more individual experience with personalised offers to reward loyalty and solidify advocacy. 


AI sorts data much faster and more efficiently than humans; further enhancing the operational benefits for brands that introduce AI. It's important to note, that AI is there to improve experiences by reducing time wasted by staff answering potentially repetitive questions and managing queues. It's not about replacing human interaction altogether as there are still many consumers who prefer to interact with other humans. 


One of the most common forms of AI we see in digital is the use of recommendation engines. Used by the likes of Amazon and Netflix, the AI can offer automated recommendations based on the customer's data and gives brands an acceleration in sales while gratifying the user and intensifying their need to return. 


At Sagittarius, we've been working with Microsoft and their Azure cognitive services suite of products to give our travel clients access to a host of opportunities from chatbots to voice assistants and AI dashboards. 


It's no secret that AI is disrupting the travel industry, and in many ways, the impact is greater than that seen in other industries. Travel has always been at the forefront of the digital revolution, and businesses leveraging AI are already reaping the rewards. Consumer's need for instant gratification and personalised experiences is crippling marketing teams. But, with AI brands can respond in real-time and give their consumers the ability to plan everything they need for the perfect holiday, without the middleman. 


If you'd like to find out how Sagittarius could support your journey into AI, get in touch today and we'll arrange for one of our consultants to give you a free, no-obligation, call to discuss your strategy. 

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Paul Stephen
Paul Stephen
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
With over 25 years in marketing, Paul is one of the UK's leading experts on digital marketing. He oversees the agency and often lectures and consults within the industry on digital and marketing related subjects and has a particular interest and skills in the travel and tourism sectors.

Paul operates nationally and internationally, helping brands to think outside the traditional horizontal and vertical channels and transform their business with creative multi-channel marketing and digital re-invention.
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