Comment: How travel brands can supercharge creativity with automation

Clare Hart, managing director at digital experience design agency Critical Mass, says AI presents a transformative opportunity for travel brands to elevate creativity, connectivity, and customer experiences

Today’s savvy consumers leverage tech for every aspect of their holiday. They use ChatGPT to research destinations, TikTok for recommendations, Skyscanner to find cheap flights and Uber to transfer from the airport to their accommodation (which they booked using Airbnb).

For travel brands, this can seem like a daunting list of competitors to overcome. After all, when combined, these independent solutions can easily rival the service offered by a more traditional travel company. And travel brands now risk being at the mercy of AI’s search function, rather than owning their brand experience across channels.

So, in the age of DIY GenAI, how can travel brands form lasting connections with consumers and leapfrog their competition? Put simply, how can they make themselves indispensable to travellers tempted to go it on their own?

They must embrace creative automation, fuelled by AI—not merely as auxiliary tools, but as integral components to supercharge creativity and connectivity.

The imperative of convenience

By harnessing automation and AI, travel brands can achieve marketing’s holy grail: the right person, at the right time, with the right message.

The imperative for travel marketers lies in amplifying convenience through the integration of AI-powered tech solutions – from commerce solutions to custom creative assets delivered at precisely the right moment. This entails streamlining the customer journey, consolidating disparate services, and anticipating the needs of travellers in real time. Failure to embrace this shift risks relegating travel brands to the periphery as consumers increasingly gravitate towards AI-driven solutions. But done well, this fully connected brand ecosystem will cultivate brand fans whose loyalty stretches far beyond the AI revolution.

Personalise, personalise, personalise!

Moreover, automation allows a brand to anticipate customer needs at every juncture of the travel journey. By harnessing multiple data sources, travel brands can decipher the nuanced preferences of each traveller, curating bespoke offerings and custom creative. Whether it’s suggesting eco-friendly travel options or personalised amenities, AI-driven insights delivered strategically across a fully connected brand ecosystem will enable travel brands to transcend conventional service models.

Furthermore, the growth of AI is rendering traditional notions of target demographics obsolete. Through AI-powered personalisation, every individual becomes a potential customer, and each interaction is tailored to their unique preferences. This democratisation of personalised experiences not only expands the reach of travel brands but also fosters inclusivity and accessibility within the industry.

Navigating ethical considerations

Ethical considerations must remain paramount. Whether in the creation of destination images or targeted advertising, transparency and integrity are non-negotiable. As the industry evolves, travel brands must navigate the ethical and legal nuances of AI usage with diligence and responsibility.

The convergence of automation and AI presents a transformative opportunity for travel brands to elevate creativity, connectivity, and customer experiences. By embracing innovation while upholding ethical standards, travel brands can navigate the evolving landscape of travel with confidence, resilience, and a commitment to excellence.

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