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Half of UK business travellers believe AI can make trips safer

Survey uncovers chasm between what business travellers believe AI can do and the data they are prepared to share
07/06/2018

Pictured: Chris Baker, SVP and MD EMEA North, SAP Concur

More than half of business travellers believe artificial intelligence (AI) can make business trips safer, according to new research from expense, travel and invoice management firm SAP Concur.

52 per cent of respondents said the use of technologies such as predictive risk alerts around natural disasters, for example, would decrease the risk of business travel. And 75 per cent of those surveyed said they believed AI would be the engine room of a more personalised experience.
 
Despite this, the research identified a gap between what respondents thought AI should be able to do and their willingness to share data. The most popular types of data people were prepared to share were email (54 per cent), travel preferences (52 per cent) and their gender (46 per cent). The data people were reluctant to share included residence (25 per cent), biometrics (27 per cent) and phone number (33 per cent).
 
Chris Baker, SVP and MD EMEA North, SAP Concur said: “Business travellers foresee a lot of potential in how AI can power the next generation of travel. From safety to preference, AI will change the very core of the travel experience for the better. And yet, the results reveal a trust issue that could be detrimental to these visions becoming a reality.
 
“AI systems need data in order to learn. Without data they aren’t able to improve and, at the moment, it seems that people are not willing to share data – biometrics aside – that they happily swap via social platforms on the internet every day of the week. Companies building AI systems have to demonstrate that data privacy, protection and governance is at the core of their offering.”
 
When asked to imagine that their future business trip was supported by AI, respondents outlined automated travel expensing (23 per cent), automated recommended actions based on events such as flights being cancelled (19 per cent) and personalised recommendations relating to restaurants (18 per cent) as their top three perceived advantages.

12 per cent said that they thought chat bots for travel bookings would be beneficial. This is perhaps not surprising as chat bots were the third type of AI platform that sprung to people’s minds when they thought of AI. First and second were voice assistants (64 per cent) and language-capable robots (50 per cent).  
 
Baker added: “That 92 per cent of respondents indicated that they had already interacted with some form of AI demonstrates how embedded the technology is becoming in everyday life. The challenge now is to use these platforms in order to deliver tangible benefits to travellers.”
 
527 business travellers were surveyed by Innofact on behalf of SAP Concur during April 2018.


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