AI with a Human Touch

Simon Birinder

March 15, 2021


7 min read

Getting to and from an event can take a great deal of organizing. And when plans change, rescheduling flights, hotels and pick-ups or even canceling them altogether can be overwhelmingly burdensome.

Thanks to developments in artificial intelligence, booking travel has never been easier. But managing it as an end-to-end experience requires more than just complex algorithms.

That’s where augmented intelligence comes in.

So, what exactly is it?

A human-centered partnership model

"Put simply, augmented intelligence is when a “smart” automated feature assists a user. It enhances the human experience but - unlike some versions of artificial intelligence - it does not replace it.” - IBM

In practical terms: augmented intelligence, also known as intelligence augmentation, uses technology to improve the performance of humans. Its purpose is to supplement people, not substitute them.

How does it work?

It uses artificial intelligence to process and analyze data and perform routine tasks so that humans don’t need to do them manually. It doesn’t make decisions for us but provides us with the information we need to make informed choices.

Augmented intelligence recognizes that:

  • Computers excel at tactical execution
  • People are better at strategic thinking

In other words: humans call the shots.

What are the benefits?

“…augmented intelligence offers ROI in the form of saved time, increased efficiency across the enterprise, and fewer opportunities missed.” – Alpha Sense

In effect, it’s a revolution in strategic processes.

Here are just some of the things augmented intelligence can do:

  • Analyze and interpret large volumes of data in breakneck time
  • Predict customer preferences
  • Improve the speed and accuracy of medical imaging analysis
  • Monitor stock market patterns via financial applications
  • Power intelligent virtual assistant platforms

All-in-one solutions for event travel planners

Now, imagine leveraging these efficiencies with travel planning for events.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the collaboration between humans and artificial intelligence could help travel planners delegate all those time-consuming tasks which keep them bogged down in cumbersome workflows?

Thankfully, it can.

Here’s an example of how:

Organizing travel for event participants entails much more than just booking flights and hotels. Before any of this can happen, planners need to liaise with guests to establish their individual preferences and requirements. And once bookings have been made, arrival and departure times as well as pick-ups and transfers need to be coordinated.

All this can result in countless emails and phone calls, not to mention stress, especially as planners try to keep up with schedule changes and last-minute cancelations.

Managing all this even for a small group is enormously challenging. When you have hundreds of guests to look after, it can be overwhelming. This leads to human errors which create – you guessed it - even more work.

It’s not that travel planners can’t be bothered putting in the hours - there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Augmented intelligence can help by taking over all these time-consuming workflows, relieving planners of a multitude of tasks, including:

  • Destination selection
  • Booking flights, hotels, trains and rental cars
  • Coordinating pick-ups and transfers
  • Tracking itineraries and amending reservations
  • Producing budget estimations and managing travel expenses
  • Liaising with guests

Humans set the parameters and the technology takes care of the rest, communicating with the right people at the right time and ensuring guests receive a personalized service at every touchpoint of their journey.

By playing to the strengths of both humans and computers, travel planners can focus more on strategizing while technology guarantees smooth tactical delivery and enhanced accuracy.

This translates into a better overall experience for delegates.

A superhuman travel assistant

Combining human and artificial intelligence enables platforms like OK Roger to provide a tailored 24-hour concierge service that continuously analyzes a guest’s data in order to better understand their likes and dislikes.

The more Roger works for someone, the more he is able to customize his approach to their needs.

Whether it’s managing frequent flyer programs, checking guests in for flights or communicating dietary preferences, Roger is on hand 24/7, keeping guests informed every step of the way, meaning they never have to chase for an update.

But while Roger does the work, the decision-making power remains with the human.

While Roger does the work, the decision-making power remains with the human

When things go wrong

Emergencies, travel disruptions and last-minute changes are a fact of life. But augmented intelligence provides Roger with the tools needed to assist with a wide range of solutions, such as:

  • Canceling or rebooking flights and hotels
  • Processing refunds
  • Notifying taxi companies and other service providers of changes to guest schedules

And that’s not all. By constantly monitoring itineraries, Roger is immediately aware of any disruptions, enabling him to be proactive in suggesting real-time solutions.

Guests simply need to choose from a set of options then sit back while Roger gets to work.

Augmenting capability – the outlook for augmented intelligence

In a world dependent on data, merely possessing information isn’t enough. What matters is being able to analyze it and uncover the most valuable insights.

That’s why Gartner predicts that by 2030, augmentation and decision support will account for 44% of global AI-derived business value, surpassing all other AI initiatives.

Source: Gartner

With such huge potential to drive business growth, the outlook for augmented intelligence is truly bright.

A powerful collaboration

“Augmented intelligence reduces mistakes while delivering customer convenience and personalization at scale, democratizing what was previously available to the select few.” - Gartner

And combined with the ingenuity and strategic thinking of humans, it’s a match made in heaven.

Simply put, augmented intelligence enhances the delegate travel experience in ways previously unimaginable by eliminating many of the time-consuming and monotonous aspects of travel planning as well as providing unique and bespoke services and solutions.

The best part: there is nothing artificial about it.

Because, let’s be honest. Nothing - as yet - quite beats the value of that added human touch.

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