ITB 2024 Special Reporting
The OTA Which Applies AI Skilfully Wins
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Friday, 4th June 2021

THE one piece of tech that could be a true differentiator for an OTA is 'the skilful application of AI (artificial intelligence) that could make all the difference to really understanding your customer'.

Speaking at the WiT Travel Roadshow, Episode 3, John Brown, CEO, Agoda said, “AI is something everybody is doing”, but there’s the missing link – applying it skilfully to truly serving up exactly what that customer wants.

“When he or she comes along, and is looking for a business hotel for a three-day stay midweek, your AI behind the scenes is serving up exactly what that customer wants. Everybody tries to do that.

“But the people who can do that really, really well so that the website really feels like, it’s something where you feel at home every time and you realise, oh, gosh, this is giving me exactly what I’ve always been looking for. I think that really will be a differentiator.”

John Brown (right): “There was definitely much more of a sense of collaboration getting through this than I may have felt in the past.”

Another piece of tech that he’s excited about is “enabling customers to check in and check out in the hotel via the mobile app, or to review their folio, or to even use the phone as a room key to get into the room”.

“That’s complicated. nobody’s really cracked that. But I think the person or the company that does that will be a big loyalty builder as well because that will remove one of the big pieces of friction that still remains at least as far as accommodation is concerned.”

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