How AI Translation Benefits The Travel Industry

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, "prior to the pandemic, the Travel & Tourism (including its direct, indirect and induced impacts) accounted for 10.6% of all jobs (334 million), and 10.4% of global GDP (US$9.2 trillion). Meanwhile, international visitor spending amounted to US $1.7 trillion in 2019 (6.8% of total exports, 27.4% of global services exports)." This industry is essential for the global economy. However, it faces several on-going challenges.

One of them is having the correct skillset and abilities to communicate to their varying customers. With the hundreds of languages spoken throughout the world today, it is impossible to have staff equipped with multilingual abilities fit for everyone. The introduction of AI translation is providing businesses and staff key advantages to give their customers better travel experiences.

Reduce Business Costs

In the travel industry, it is guaranteed that you will see to customers from different countries. Most airlines and travel-related businesses try to hire multilingual staff for this reason, with companies like Air Canada claiming that over 60% of their staff are in fact bilingual. Unfortunately for the travel industry, the need for language skilled staff has dramatically risen over the last two years, making bi- and multilingual staff a commodity. From February 2020 to March 2021, bilingual job postings increased by 30%, according to Tech Republic, making it harder for travel businesses to find and keep employees with multiple language skills.

To lessen the financial costs of recruiting and employing these candidates, businesses within the travel industry are turning to AI translation to maintain the current level of customer satisfaction without the expensive costs. Implementing these translation tools will give all your employees the ability to communicate in multiple languages without you having to break the bank to hire individuals with special skillsets. It's crucial to keep costs low, especially in the post-pandemic world, as globally the travel industry took on a $935 Billion loss throughout the pandemic.

Improve Customer Services

AI translation can help customers in airports

Customer service plays a vital role within travel businesses like airports, airlines, hotels, and tourism centres. Most of these businesses deal with language barriers on a daily basis, using bilingual and English-speaking staff in hopes that international customers will be able to communicate through the language barriers. While English has been the universal language in aviation and other travel sectors, reports show that it may be hindering your business. Reports have shown that more than 90% of the world’s population does not speak English as their first language and 75% do not speak English at all.

While it would be ideal to cater to every language by hiring multilingual staff, it's not realistic or cost effective.

Adding AI translation devices to places like airports, hotels, and tourism centres will allow all staff members regardless of language capabilities the tools needed to communicate to customers in a variety of languages, thus smoothing communication and increasing customer satisfaction. And it's not just in-person communication where AI translation can claim an advantage. Company websites are now implementing AI translation for their virtual and online customer service systems such as live chat and direct messaging. Adding translation as a tool is proven to increase customer satisfaction, as 72% of consumers are more likely to buy when they receive help or information in their own language. Making these changes to improve customer service will in turn improve the customer journey overall and will help you with customer retention, which is one of the most effective ways to increase revenue.

Improve Brand Loyalty To Increase Revenue

Did you know the lack of language skills within the UK alone is costing the economy 3.5% of GDP, working out at £48bn a year. A lack of language skills, especially for native English speaking countries, can be the reason a business within the travel industry doesn't get as high a profit or customer retention as businesses that use AI translation or hire workers with language skills. A 2017 survey by PWC found that 80% of American consumers point to speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service as the most important elements of positive customer experience, all of which can be achieved by your staff members when give AI translation tools to aid them.

According to HubSpot, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who they have received excellent customer service from, so it stands to reason that adding AI translation to aid your customers experience will increase their return rate. This increase in brand loyalty and customer retention is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your revenue, as a study from Bain & Company showed that just a 5% increase in customer retention could lead to a 25% surge in profits. Loyal customers also tend to spend more, leave positive reviews and recommend your business to others they know; this will help your brand reputation, increase your revenue, and help you acquire new customers without having to scale up your marketing efforts.

Differentiate Your Brand And Improve Brand Reputation

A study by the European Commission found that nearly one in five Europeans never browse in a language other than their own, with 42% saying they never purchase products or services in other languages. Including AI translation in your business's online and in-person services is a defining factor that could set your business apart from the rest, especially when in such an international sector such as the travel industry. It's clear that customers want to buy and receive services in their own language, so offering this and advertising this as a unique selling point could help you to differentiate your brand from others and attract new customers.

Customers are more likely to take their custom to businesses that they can communicate with effectively, so not only do you have a higher chance of increased customer visits, but you're more likely to receive positive feedback from these customers, especially if your competitors don't offer translation services as varied as yours. Happy customers are more inclined to leave positive reviews which can substantially increase your brand's reputation. Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business, and nearly 3 out of 4 consumers trust a company more if it has positive reviews, so it's clear that keeping customers satisfied will positively effect your brand's reputation and sales.

Increase sales to new customers or existing customers

From plane ticket comparison websites to hotel company websites,  many travel businesses have found that implementing AI translation to translate their web copy leads to an increase in sales, as customers want to shop in their own language without confusion. If customers have a great experience with your services and support teams, they'll be more likely to shop with you again or at the very least, they're share their positive experience with others. A 2018 report from the Temkin Group found that 77% of customers who have a positive experience with a company go on to recommend it to a friend, meaning that something as simple as a translated conversation from staff to customer could be the dealbreaker for that customer to return and recommend you to others.

Businesses can then use their increased trustworthiness and positive reputation to increase sales through cross-selling and upselling with both new and returning customers. Loyal customers are 43% more likely to spend more with your brand than ones they don't trust, therefore making upselling and cross-selling additional products with less friction much easier. First-time and new customers will also feel a sense of trust with your brand through the positive reviews and your reputation, making it easier for your sales team to recommend products, as they will trust that your team are recommending products that will truly fit their needs and ease their buying experience.

Conclusion

In the travel industry, businesses can use AI translation to add value to their business and entice new customers in. When it comes to retaining customers, international customers and those that can't speak universal English will benefit from a company that caters to their specific language needs, and so will more likely return again for a smooth and stress-free travel experience. Whether it's a simple smartphone app or a specialised translation headset, these AI translation tools are vitally beneficial for travel businesses looking to acquire and keep international customers.