For travelers, artificial intelligence is developing new ways to help find the best deals when booking flights, hotels, and dinner reservations and even optimizing sleep. What can’t AI do?
This is excellent news — and just in time for peak travel. 2019 is expected to be the busiest travel year on record. Amid this rapid growth, AI is poised to make the experience even better for travelers.
Finding the Best Travel Deals
For eons, travel companies have used AI to optimize and drive up prices. Fortunately, the pendulum has swung the other way, and now consumers have the same tools available to help them find the most competitive deals on the market at any given time.
Booking AI technology works by mapping out the travel ecosystem on a time scale in order to find the best ticket prices and make predictions. Travelers are able to easily filter prices to find the best deals based on all the historical data available from previous pricing. The AI is making a prediction on when it thinks you will see the optimal price for the journey you’re trying to make.
The app Hopper, which helps travelers find the best deals on airfare and hotels, is designed to function like travel booking websites Trivago and Expedia. However, users have the added benefit of receiving notifications of price drops on flights they want as soon as they occur. This platform estimates future prices so travelers can make informed decisions as to whether they should book now or wait.
When AI is the engine, benefits like cost savings can be the result. And nearly 25 percent of Hopper’s bookings result from alternative travel dates and locations the app suggests because they are cheaper than the original times travelers were seeking. Users see color-coded calendars that make it easy to spot price disparities. The app also has a travel ticket finder feature that enables custom filters. Google Flights also offers cheaper alternate dates to fly.
In the future, you can imagine these apps syncing with your calendar and organizing the travel booking to align with your schedule. You could include potential bucket list destinations that can be added to trips. Take a break from that convention you’re attending to get in a helicopter and zoom over the Grand Canyon with a client you are meeting so you can write off the cost and have an adventure. Shall I book? Yes, please.
Finding the Best Night’s Sleep
AI is helping to optimize sleep, which is funny considering it can’t sleep. HEKA introduced AI mattresses in March 2018, and company leaders are hoping to work with hotel partners in the future to make them available to travelers.
The mattresses recognize body shapes and adapt the bed’s firmness accordingly. The mattresses can even recognize whether you are sleeping on your back or side and adjust as you move. HEKA’s makers envision that users will someday be able to log in to a HEKA AI Mattress ID system and synchronize their sleep data and preferences for on-the-go use.
With an estimated 50 million to 70 million American adults suffering from sleep disorders, this would be a welcome addition to travelers everywhere.
The ReST Bed is another mattress that allows users to set firmness levels for five different zones on the body for both side and back sleepers. As a user switches positions, the mattress automatically adjusts to the set firmness in order to maximize user comfort all night long.
Finding the Best Food
Whether you are traveling for work, visiting family, or exploring a new country, finding some of the best dining options can be a challenge. When you are on the road and really craving some healing pho or when you need to see whether there are any poke bowls available nearby, AI can help.
One place you can turn to is Halla, a personalized dining search engine that can make ordering food and having it delivered to you easier than ever. With it, you can order from thousands of restaurants. Over time, the app will learn your diet and preferences and then sync them to your location and offer some options.
Another AI advancement is Tellspec, a food analysis engine that can help diners identify what is in their food, which can help them avoid eating items they are allergic to or simply don’t want to eat. Tellspec is a scanner that syncs to your phone and allows you to scan the food. Then, the app tells you what is in the dish, as well as how many calories it contains and what macronutrients it contains.
Next, you can imagine a world where AI suggests topics of conversations for dinner to avoid awkward silences. Did you know that this dish originated from (insert country here) around the time of the (insert I’m-so-smart point of reference here)?
These are just a few of the ways artificial intelligence technology could help travelers now and in the future. It could save you money and make the traveling experience easier and more enjoyable.