As a travel advisor, you wear many hats: travel planner, accountant, marketer, social media coordinator, PR strategist and sometimes even “IT guy.” Travel industry companies that cater to travel advisors get this, so they are implementing and working on AI assistants that can help ease your workload.
Over at Cruise Planners, for example, they’ve launched CP Maxx, which is used with Amazon’s Alexa and helps Cruise Planners’ agents run their business more effectively by including what Cruise Planners is calling the “first-ever Artificial Intelligence tool for travel agents.”
“CP Maxx makes it so I don’t need a whole team of people in marketing, technology and accounting to run my business. With CP Maxx, I can make bookings and payments direct with cruise lines and tour companies, effectively market to the right clients with CP Insights and stay on top of my calendar, reporting, sales opportunities…everything,” says Michael Consoli, a Cruise Planners franchise owner.
Another Cruise Planners franchise owner, Carolyn Rybnikar, also uses CP Maxx for “everything. I use it for my CRM, my marketing database, and more, helping me stay on top of my business. On a daily basis, CP Maxx reminds me what payments are due and what customers are traveling, so when a client calls, I can quickly pull up all their information right then to give them the best service.”
“It’s easy to integrate the CP Maxx skills into the ‘conversations’ you’re
already having with Alexa. Just as I’d ask Alexa what the weather’s like today, I can ask about my calendar, what payment deadlines I have coming up or who I have traveling. It helps me get my workday started…it becomes so routine you won’t know how you worked without it,” says Consoli.
“One of my favorite new tools in CP Maxx is Hot Lists,” he adds, “which uses my client database to automatically serve up sales opportunities. For example, Hot Lists will show me clients with milestone birthdays or anniversaries coming up in eight months, as well as clients whose last previous purchase was one year ago who don’t have a trip coming up, so I easily reach out to them with an eCard and encourage them to book their next trip.”
To use CP Maxx, simply download the Alexa app from the App Store and enable the Cruise Planners skill from within the Alexa app. There’s also a skill for Cruise Planners’ customers, called simply Cruise Planners, which gives customers the opportunity to ask Alexa about details for their upcoming trips.
Social Humanoid Robot Assistant
Pepper, a social humanoid robot created by Softbank Robotics, is an AI star that’s been tested by Amadeus and TUI Germany, a German travel and tourism company, to see how it could alleviate the workload for a travel advisor who might be busy with another customer in a retail agency setting. Instead of having the customer wait around to be attended, Pepper can get things started. Based on a set of applications, Pepper greets the client and starts a conversation: “Hello, I will show you some pictures and you can tell me which ones you like. If you like this picture, you can smile, say it out loud, or just press ‘I like’ on my tablet. Do you like coffee? The sea?” With the client’s permission, Pepper starts creating their traveler profile. The robot extracts characteristics of their personality from random pictures, not always destination related, and matches them with a list of relevant destination profiles.
Pepper is able to capture a lot of data about the traveler, while keeping the experience engaging, which the travel advisor can leverage to maximize the value of their role.
This project created for the travel agency space is still in its initial phases as Amadeus and TUI Germany try to understand how social humanoid robots can bring new business opportunities, help generate revenue, and improve the in-store experience for
Cruise Planners: cruiseplanners.com
VR in the Travel Space
“Virtual reality is a great new way to excite clients about travel destinations,” says John Graham, president of Perillo Travel VR.
Adds travel advisor Kris Bongiovi of By All Means Travel, Inc.,“The Perillo Travel VR experience allows the viewer to travel to Italy virtually, immersing them into the culture to experience all the sights, sounds, dining, attractions and beauty this country has to offer. This enhanced tool will help ‘us,’ the travel agent, sell more Italy with Perillo Tours.”
The company is offering agents free branded cardboard VR headsets so they can demonstrate the immersive pre-travel experience to their clients.
The Jamaica Tourist Board recently reached out to Perillo Travel VR to produce and distribute their first 360-degree virtual reality video. This immersive video will showcase the vistas of the island, with an emphasis on resort areas in Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, and Kingston. “This technology will support travel agents in the selling process and will help consumers envision themselves in the destination even before booking their vacation,” says Donovan White, Jamaica’s director of tourism. The video is expected to be completed in time for the winter selling season, and will be distributed to agents in North America. perillotravelvr.com