How Voice (Siri) Is Going To Transform Travel Industry
For a long time, there is a rumour that Apple is working on a mobile based app for travel industry – iTravel, Apple has patented it too. This product is going to directly impact travel. One of their other recent product or rather feature “Siri” is also going to impact travel industry in lot many ways. Though Siri is not released as a prime use product for travel, it is definitely going to change the way travellers plan, book, organize and share their travel. And, the market is going to (read as have to) adapt to incorporate Siri in its massive ecosystem. Lets discuss why this is going to happen.
We strongly predict “Siri” is going to be deeply integrated with all workflows of “iTravel”. It is a killer combo to have. Imagine Google and Facebook joining hands to develop a new product, that’s the power the “Siri + iTravel” combo is going to have.
1. Customers don’t have to type their trip data in the flight / hotel search page. They just have to pick-up their phone, open a travel company app, speak to the phone – “Show me all flights from Bangalore to London on May 10th 2012, hmmmm also show me upto 1 connecting flight only, and I am travelling with my wife”. The voice powered mobile app gives you the result for what you asked and assists you till booking confirmation stage. This creates a rich engaging experience for the customer.
2.Customers will no more get “Trip reminder email” or “Trip reminder SMS”. The mobile is going to “talk” to you to remind about your trips. You are going to “talk” to the app asking it to remind you just 1 day before the trip (than logging into the website and modifying the “Notification Preference” setting in your account).
3. This is a big thing. We very strongly predict the travel planning stage itself is going to be heavily influenced by voice. The most strenuous stage in a trip is the “planning” stage. Travellers spend many hours of research for a trip. Wouldn’t it be easy to pick up the phone and strike a conversation – “Hey, this weekend I am planning to take my family out, suggest me some adventure places for 2 days, also I want to know where to stay and how to get there, tell me things to see and best places to have food”. Let the app do all research for your trip.
4. Want to know flight or train status? Want to know if your flight is delayed? Gate changed? How much loyalty reward points you have? Which all gifts you can redeem for the reward points? Just “talk”.
5. Voice + Location based service? Yes, yet another revolutionary combination to have. We will give you just only one use case of this combo, we will leave it to you to imagine every other possible scenario.
Use case: James is in the flight from SFO to LHR. As soon as the flight lands in Heathrow airport, James switches his mobile ON. James is still inside the flight while the flight attendant finishes the landing formalities. James comes out of plane and walks towards the baggage area. While walking, he talks to the mobile app – “Book me a cab to home”. He speaks just 6 words. The app understands that James is in the airport, he has taken a long haul flight and he is tired, his home is 55 miles away from airport, applies all past cab booking analytics and suggests him a luxury segment car. While James collects his bag, the mobile app informs James that his cab is ready and informs the cab details. James gets into the car. How’s it?
6. Travellers no more have to worry about – No one picking the phone in travel call centres, agent not understand the customer’s requirement, unnecessary wait times. Voice is going to play a crucial role in call centres.
7. Prior 2011, whenever customers walked in to a restaurant, they were presented with paper menu card to order food. In 2011, few restaurants replaced their paper based menu with tablet based menus. In 2013, customers are going to have a two way conversation with the tablet to get food recommendations based on their preference, ingredients in an item, how long it will take to prepare the food and obviously to place orders.
There are lot many workflows in travel that are going to be truly revolutionized by voice. It is very evident that this change is not going to happen any time soon. We predict voice based travel workflows will get triggered in early 2013 and grow strong by end of 2013. But, the equation might change when Apple reveals iTravel. We are going to see many startups building multiple travel products once Apple / Google / Windows releases the API for its own version of voice software.
Note 1: The thoughts in this post doesn’t apply only to Siri. It applies to “voice” in general. Since Siri has emerged as a leader in voice recognition, we took Siri as an example for discussion.
Note 2: Above are our predictions in travel industry. If you like any of these predictions / ideas, you may go ahead and build a kickass product that helps travel industry. We haven’t patented any of above idea. Want to discuss more on these concepts? “talk” to us
Author: Karthick Prabu