June 13, 2023

Leveraging AI to Optimize the Customer Travel Experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a trending topic for many industries, including travel and technology. As a forward-thinking, cutting-edge company, many teams at Rocket Travel by Agoda have been exploring and experimenting with AI, and the results we've seen are auspicious.

As a leader in the global travel industry and white-label space, we partner with some of the largest brands in the world and provide their (and our) customers with a seamless experience when planning and booking travel. Pioneering original platforms, producing innovative results, and enabling technological advancements is the core of our business, and, therefore, embracing AI technology is only a natural expansion process within the company.

From utilizing AI to enhancing customer service to training an existing AI model to provide customers with more accurate room title translations, AI has been an integral part of our growth path.

Rocket Travel by Agoda is embracing AI technology

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Rocket Travel by Agoda offers 24/7 customer assistance provided by more than 200 agents in many parts of the world. As the company continues to grow, we recognize that automating internal processes by leveraging AI technology is the right thing to do to remain competitive and is also an opportunity to drastically improve the customer experience.

The operations team at Rocket Travel by Agoda recently implemented a new feature to help automate the requests for canceling reservations while reducing the workload on live agents. The IVR (Interactive Voice Response), powered by Vonage, is a voice self-service telephone system and one of our initiatives to incorporate AI technology into our business operations. Through the implementation of an IVR system for cancellations requests, the operations team at Rocket Travel by Agoda successfully decreased manual cancellations with agents by 35%, representing 12% of our overall phone calls.

This powerful tool enables our customers to find a resolution to their requests in a much quicker way. When customers call and state the reason for their contact, the newly implemented feature will guide them by explaining the process and assisting with a cancellation request for both refundable and non-refundable bookings. When necessary, the tool will route the call to an appropriate customer expert. This critical automation has freed up agent resources allowing them to focus on other tasks and increasing the team's overall efficiency.

Other ways we leverage AI

While the operations team is thrilled to explore the IVR technology and its customizations, other teams at Rocket Travel by Agoda are also eagerly utilizing the powerful knowledge of AI to optimize the booking experience we offer our travelers. For example, the data science team recently launched an A/B test on all platforms powered by an AI model that translates hotel room titles from English to Spanish. The team leveraged an existing AI model by training the technology and empowering it to fully understand specific terminologies within the hotel industry. For example, it understands "king" as a type of bed rather than an inherited position.

The work developed by the data science team will allow Rocket Travel by Agoda to provide customers a more consistent and accurate room-type translation during their booking process. This approach is also fully scalable—while it is now being tested in Spanish and Portuguese, it can be used by partners whose primary customer base is in any other language.

Similarly, the Marketing team has also been embracing the power of AI to optimize email campaign performance. Our marketing experts are empowered to quickly set up effective email campaigns by utilizing available AI features within our email program. These features allow our marketers to more effectively predict campaign goals and segment the audience that is more likely to convert. They also generate content ideas and provide suggestions for alternative copies. While the teams at Rocket Travel by Agoda feel excited to continue utilizing available AI technology, it's important to state that we do not take its input at face value. Exercising judgment, corroborating with multiple trusted sources, fact-checking, and applying critical thinking remain essential practices in our day-to-day work. These practices are especially true when leveraging AI.

In-depth consumer journeys drive engagement throughout every phase of the customer lifecycle. A robust suite of transactional emails ensure customers have all the information needed at their fingertips from booking, to check-in, and post-trip. Dynamic cross-sell strategies allow us to drive high attach rates with other travel products offered by our partners, generating incremental bookings and boosting the value of each trip, and abandoned search and welcome series ensures customers understand the value of our partners’ travel platforms and stay loyal to our partners’ brands.
Personalized content leveraged throughout our emails, delivering a unique experience for the consumer. Our personalized email communications ensure each customer has all the information they need throughout their travels, easy ways to contact our customer loyalty team for assistance, and suggest travel destinations based on their personal travel preferences. This adds a level of convenience to the consumer experience and drives engagement with our partners’ brands.
Utilizing AI is quickly becoming a cornerstone of email marketing. Using artificial intelligence allows our marketing teams to quickly drive innovation through A/B experimentation. In testing, we have found it to be very effective at driving results and are developing new ways to leverage this emerging technology as email marketing services continue to expand.
Segmenting audiences based on previous engagement data to deliver new messages to the customer and drive continued engagement with our white label platforms.
Robust reporting enables us to continually optimize the performance of our campaigns, and keep partners informed of success and areas of opportunity at every phase of a partnership.

Where we see the future

AI has and will continue to have a transformative impact on our society. It will keep growing and bringing significant advancements across many industries, including travel and hospitality. As an innovative customer-centric company, embracing the power of AI is crucial to ensure we provide the best possible travel experience to our customers, whether they are booking their hotel, receiving our communications, or requesting assistance from our team of customer experts. Investing in and implementing technological advancements enabled by AI is an essential step forward to continue scaling our services, providing faster resolution to our customers, and improving the booking experience on our platforms. We are thrilled to be part of this innovative era and continue leveraging AI's power to shape the future of the travel industry with our partners and customers.

About the author

Nancy Alsip is the Senior Vice President of Engineering at Rocket Travel by Agoda. She is passionate about the tech and travel industry. At Rocket Travel by Agoda, she uses her leadership skills to manage the team of engineers and help bring to life our vision to build rewarding travel experiences for our customers around the globe.

September 25, 2023

Leveraging AI to Optimize the Customer Travel Experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a trending topic for many industries, including travel and technology. As a forward-thinking, cutting-edge company, many teams at Rocket Travel by Agoda have been exploring and experimenting with AI, and the results we've seen are auspicious.

As a leader in the global travel industry and white-label space, we partner with some of the largest brands in the world and provide their (and our) customers with a seamless experience when planning and booking travel. Pioneering original platforms, producing innovative results, and enabling technological advancements is the core of our business, and, therefore, embracing AI technology is only a natural expansion process within the company.

From utilizing AI to enhancing customer service to training an existing AI model to provide customers with more accurate room title translations, AI has been an integral part of our growth path.

Rocket Travel by Agoda is embracing AI technology

Rocket Travel by Agoda offers 24/7 customer assistance provided by more than 200 agents in many parts of the world. As the company continues to grow, we recognize that automating internal processes by leveraging AI technology is the right thing to do to remain competitive and is also an opportunity to drastically improve the customer experience.

The operations team at Rocket Travel by Agoda recently implemented a new feature to help automate the requests for canceling reservations while reducing the workload on live agents. The IVR (Interactive Voice Response), powered by Vonage, is a voice self-service telephone system and one of our initiatives to incorporate AI technology into our business operations. Through the implementation of an IVR system for cancellations requests, the operations team at Rocket Travel by Agoda successfully decreased manual cancellations with agents by 35%, representing 12% of our overall phone calls.

This powerful tool enables our customers to find a resolution to their requests in a much quicker way. When customers call and state the reason for their contact, the newly implemented feature will guide them by explaining the process and assisting with a cancellation request for both refundable and non-refundable bookings. When necessary, the tool will route the call to an appropriate customer expert. This critical automation has freed up agent resources allowing them to focus on other tasks and increasing the team's overall efficiency.

In-depth consumer journeys drive engagement throughout every phase of the customer lifecycle. A robust suite of transactional emails ensure customers have all the information needed at their fingertips from booking, to check-in, and post-trip. Dynamic cross-sell strategies allow us to drive high attach rates with other travel products offered by our partners, generating incremental bookings and boosting the value of each trip, and abandoned search and welcome series ensures customers understand the value of our partners’ travel platforms and stay loyal to our partners’ brands.
Personalized content leveraged throughout our emails, delivering a unique experience for the consumer. Our personalized email communications ensure each customer has all the information they need throughout their travels, easy ways to contact our customer loyalty team for assistance, and suggest travel destinations based on their personal travel preferences. This adds a level of convenience to the consumer experience and drives engagement with our partners’ brands.
Utilizing AI is quickly becoming a cornerstone of email marketing. Using artificial intelligence allows our marketing teams to quickly drive innovation through A/B experimentation. In testing, we have found it to be very effective at driving results and are developing new ways to leverage this emerging technology as email marketing services continue to expand.
Segmenting audiences based on previous engagement data to deliver new messages to the customer and drive continued engagement with our white label platforms.
Robust reporting enables us to continually optimize the performance of our campaigns, and keep partners informed of success and areas of opportunity at every phase of a partnership.

Where we see the future

AI has and will continue to have a transformative impact on our society. It will keep growing and bringing significant advancements across many industries, including travel and hospitality. As an innovative customer-centric company, embracing the power of AI is crucial to ensure we provide the best possible travel experience to our customers, whether they are booking their hotel, receiving our communications, or requesting assistance from our team of customer experts. Investing in and implementing technological advancements enabled by AI is an essential step forward to continue scaling our services, providing faster resolution to our customers, and improving the booking experience on our platforms. We are thrilled to be part of this innovative era and continue leveraging AI's power to shape the future of the travel industry with our partners and customers.