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We live in a world where tech and artificial intelligence are viewed from several perspectives.

There are younger generations who see nothing new. There are those who have happy memories of a childhood without technology or Internet, but who were using smartphones by the time they hit the office. And then there are those who continue to struggle and find the idea of tech uncomfortable.

Well, luddite or not, tech has shaped and changed the world we live in.

There are currently 453 million Internet users in Africa. This number is growing by more than 5% each year, and with figures like these, we cannot deny tech and artificial intelligence are here to stay.

Focus on the customer experience

For African travel agents, the focus should be less on the newness of tech and the change it brings, and more on the customer experience. So says Amadeus’, Julia Barry, Innovation Manager for Research, Innovation & Ventures Group. “Artificial intelligence and technology are enablers, they give us the opportunity to make things better and we should see it that way – the focus should always be on the traveller,” she says.

Barry says travel agents should ask themselves how tech can improve conversions, allow for extended content, optimise and maximise communication and improve operations and performance.

These are the some of the principles Amadeus Ventures is based on. Amadeus Ventures was born in 2014 as an innovation vehicle to drive collaboration with the start-up ecosystem. The project looks for entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do, and together with Amadeus deliver next-generation technology that improves the travel experience of business and leisure travellers.

Here are three inspiring tech travel companies to watch and in which Amadeus Ventures has invested:

Avuxi TopPlace Map Layers

This tech is a perfect example of how data and artificial intelligence are being used to provide the best possible customer experience.

If you have a business traveller who wants to stay in an area that is close to all the top restaurants in the city, travel agents can now use a heat map to search for these areas and advise the client accordingly.

The same can be said for a leisure traveller who may be partial to visiting historical sites in a city and wants accommodation that will give them the best access to such spots. This map can also be used to show public transport and also display what type of neighbourhood it is – is it frequented by students? Is there a lot of nightlife?

By using geo-targeted data from several sources, this tech uses an algorithm that can identify and then generate a profile and TopPlace best location scores for social activity categories, areas and places. TopPlace MapLayers uses this tech to help show the most popular areas in a city. It can also show travellers the most popular points of interest by category.

CrowdVision

CrowdVision’s video-based people tracking software shows what is happening to an entire passenger population, in real time. Using sophisticated artificial intelligence techniques, the system undertakes passenger counting, queue analysis, and analyses passenger flow automatically.

CrowdVision outputs live passenger analytics about flows, queues and wait times. It also produces data on processing times, occupancies, and asset utilisation. The tech has been used by some airports to improve checkpoint efficiency by reducing queues and waiting times.

Yapta

This company has three different products that can help travel agents ensure they reduce the travel spend of their business clients:

  • FareIQ monitors airfare prices and sends instant alerts when savings are found on the same itineraries that are significant enough to reticket.
  • RoomIQ dynamically observes hotel bookings, looking for lower rates and amenity gains on comparable rooms at the same hotel.
  • TravelAI gives you immediate point-of-sale visibility into your travel program so TMCs and travel managers can see if suppliers are performing as contracted and if travellers are complying with policy.

Amadeus MEA Online Connect

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