Just as banking-as-a-service (BaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) have reshaped their respective industries, a new ‘as a service’ model is emerging in the travel and tourism sector.
This tourism-as-a-service concept aims to redefine connected travel, harnessing the potential of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain to streamline every facet of the trip – from travel bookings and payments to accommodation and transportation.
By consolidating services that are typically spread across different tools and platforms, such as ticketing for public transport and tourist attractions, route planning and access to relevant information, this concept streamlines travel experiences, which is highly attractive to today’s convenience-seeking consumers and hassle-free experiences. .
One of the companies embracing this trend is Addentax, which announced earlier this month revealed a tourism-as-a-service platform with AI and blockchain tools.
The solution, launched in partnership with Shenzhen Tamir Cultural Tourism Development, a blockchain service provider, aims to streamline local and international pan-entertainment and tourism services for Chinese travelers.
“We are more than happy to witness the use of our AI and blockchain tools in the tourism-as-a-service pan-entertainment platform,” Hong Zhida, chairman and CEO of Addentax, said on February 6. press release. “We expect that more research and developments in AI technology will translate into real-world applications and uses.”
This news comes in the broader context of the increasing adoption of advanced technologies as part of efforts to accelerate the digital transformation of the travel sector.
For example, European catering provider Accor recently introduced an AI-powered travel assistant Amazon Web Services (AWS) machine learning and AI capabilities and with an intuitive conversational interface.
Essentially, the assistant learns guest preferences to meet the needs of travelers, including those who combine work and leisure travel, commonly referred to as “multimodal” travelers.
“Accor’s new Travel Assistant enables guests to find the best experiences based on the travel style they prefer, transforming the entire booking journey from inspiration to beyond their stay,” AWS said in a statement press release at the time, adding that “the technology will streamline the booking process to a matter of minutes.”
AI turns apps into agents
These initiatives align with insights from PYMNTS Intelligence research showing a growing interest in AI-driven experiences, including for travel. Remarkable, almost 63% of consumers show enthusiasm for AI-powered travel experiences, further highlighting the demand for innovative tech solutions in the sector.
Reinforcing this trend even further, a separate study from PYMNTS Intelligence-Ingo Payments shows: An increase of 16% of the number of consumers who searched for travel information online and bought airline tickets digitally in the past year.
In response to this trend, companies are increasingly adopting advanced technologies digital travel planning tools to meet consumer needs. For example, Tripadvisor has embraced OpenAI’s generative AI technology to create customized travel itineraries, and travel marketplace Mondee has announced its integration with a mobile-focused generative AI platform.
This trend has led to investments in AI-driven travel initiatives, such as Airbnb’s recent one acquisition from AI startup GamePlanner.AI for $200 million last November.
Speaking to investors about the company’s third-quarter results that same month, CEO of Airbnb Brian Chesky expressed optimism about GenAI’s potential to improve the travel experience and transform the app into the “ultimate travel agent” for users.
This includes addressing common travel challenges such as language barriers between hosts and guests, differences in policies across borders and the lack of traditional front desk support.
By integrating AI, Chesky said, “An agent can oversee a model that can create a better solution in seconds and provide front-desk-level support in almost any community in the world.”