Generative AI and its associated tools have the potential to bring significant improvements to the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) industry. These advancements include assisting travelers in finding the best travel routes, providing easy access to destination-specific content, and enhancing social connections.
These trends were discussed in a webinar titled “The power of generative AI and ChatGPT and what it means for tourism and hospitality,” hosted by PhocusWire and Miles Partnership.
During the webinar, Shane O’Flaherty, the global director of travel, transportation & hospitality for Microsoft, emphasized the importance of purposeful business travel and how AI can contribute to building social capital. He highlighted the role of AI as a co-pilot, prompting individuals to consider whether an in-person meeting would be more beneficial than a remote call. From a travel agency perspective, AI can collect data and drive operational efficiency.
The participants in the webinar included Tim Peter, the president and founder of e-commerce and Internet marketing consultancy firm Tim Peter & Associates, Christian Watts, the founder of Magpie (a content management company for the tours and activities sector), Mitra Sorrells, PhocusWire editor-in-chief, and Gray Lawry, the VP strategy & insights at Miles Partnership.
Tim Peter discussed how AI can enhance marketing and customer experience, raising the bar and increasing customer expectations. Christian Watts envisioned a future where travelers have AI agents that provide guidance and assistance during their trips, allowing them to easily navigate and explore new destinations.
The participants also noted that the travel and tourism industries have been slower in adopting AI compared to other sectors. Microsoft’s O’Flaherty stated that the challenge lies in cultural barriers and the need to embrace technology to empower both industry professionals and consumers. Legacy systems in the industry need to be modernized to fully leverage AI capabilities.
Gray Lawry from Miles Partnership offered advice on how tourism professionals can effectively utilize generative AI tools. He emphasized the importance of providing meaningful prompts to language models, as the quality of the output is directly related to the quality of the input. Lawry suggested focusing on specific tasks such as generating, analyzing, categorizing, modifying text, or brainstorming new ideas when working with language models.
As AI use becomes more prevalent throughout our society, it is important for the hospitality and travel industry to adapt to technological advancements and understand the benefits of utilizing AI.