In the last few months there has been great excitement in personalization of the holiday experience with major hotel chains adopting mood matchmaker.Travel personality based pairing. Even the OTAs have moved into the arena – Expedia declared it as the new frontier for travel bookings. AirBnb is testing its own version of mood matching. Both offer news ways of pairing hotel and holiday experiences to travelers who are looking for a custom made vacation that fits their very special needs and character.
Marriott hotel and AccorHotels have both adopted the approach or are experimenting with it. It makes sense as travelers today are looking for experiences that fit their mood and their personality and the old ways of finding hotel by location, price and amenities does little to fulfill their expectation.
Psychology Applied to Travel By Professional Psychologist
Its interesting to note that the early users of personalization based on mood and personality have not developed the solution themselves but outsourced it to established psychological and personality branding companies. Pioneers in developing this technology are companies such as Travelsify, Traitify and PersonaHolidays. (See comparison at MatchMaket.Travel).
All are using different approaches in finding a different way to personalize holiday vacations. They are moving on from search based on amenities alone to make search a more enlighten experience in tune with what travelers are really looking for: A personal Experience.
Amenities Take a Back Seat to Mood Matching Experiences
Amenities are not what travelers dream of and they do not describe the experience. To fulfill dreams hotel search needs to understand the psychology of the traveler and predict their travel aspirations. The new personalization solution know this and have unique and innovative ways to create personal vacation experiences that resonate with the psyche.
Travelsify has studies reviews of hotels to establish a set of words that travelers use to describe their stay at a hotel. The words are travel experience specific terms that reflect the cultural variances in hotel perception. They include words one would expect like nightlife, gourmet and luxury. But not so typical are vintage, classic, zen and spacious. Words that you may find in in guest reviews and yet are seldom used in hotel search engines, booking systems and holiday planning. It makes absolute sense to use these emotional preferences in holiday planning and in selecting your preferred holiday experience. This is the approach that AccorHotels in using in their Mood Matchmaker.
PersonaHolidays has a different matchmaker.travel strategy although many of the same words that are used in the Travelsify solution are also part of the PersonaHolidays personalization. However, they are not overt. Instead each hotel undergoes a professional persona branding assessment that create its own unique character and matchwords. Travelers are assessed by an inference engine that monitors every interaction and established their travel persona by inference. The hotel holiday experience and traveler are matched by the matchwords (emotional triggers) associated with each.
We will see more personality based search solutions in the future as personalization is a key trend and need in travel. Interestingly the opportunity is creating new startups with skills and experience based in psychological assessment, motivation and visualization using highly adaptive technology that will work with established systems.
It’s a treat to hear Mark Okerstrom say Personalization is the next frontier. We know he’s right on target with outstanding results from our pioneering application PersonaHolidays.com. It has increased engagement and call-to-action by 300% – check this video >>
It’s now installed as an active live app for the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia. We have discussions well under way for several Canadian applications and we’re in discussions with a global new age OTA. We’ll keep you posted on this exciting venture. https://www.tnooz.com/article/expedia-ceo-mark-okerstrom-on-dara-expedias-culture-global-growth/#comment-4896777
Here is What Expedia Said:
Tnooze – What are your personal and professional thoughts on personalization and the road ahead to get better at matching offers to people and provide more targeted services to customers across all your brands?
“Honestly, I think it’s a huge opportunity. It’s the next big thing potentially”.
Paraphrasing his comments, he tells us: The first wave of online travel evolution, or revolution, was about making the dull text-based green screen of the travel agents more engaging and opening them up to travelers.
But that is where we still are, he adds.
Where we need to go is back to the 70s and 80s, when travel agents knew where you stayed and, “they knew what type of hotels you liked and they knew where you like to go in the summer and where you like to go in the winter. And they could already tailor their offering to you.”
Expedia is not quite there yet, but they can beat anyone!
It is a race between man and machine and man is still winning. He adds that, because of Expedia’s size, capabilities and vast data, They can do this “better than anyone else in the industry”!
We Shall See…
None of the OTAs have made any significant strides toward true personalization. They have studied data to exhaustion but have failed to understand personality.
It seems to me that understanding data and personality are different skill sets. You need to work with physiologists who have already defined the concept of PersonaBranding. Every hotel must be branded in this way.
New Suite of Technology Needed
PersonaHolidays is a suite of technology that includes the application that travelers see and that helps them make the right choices based on nuances and not just location, price and amenities.
It requires a PersonaBranding technology and a travel matchmaker engine, as in http://Matchmaker.travel. Once branded, the matchmaker interfaces the inference engine and the brand personality to create the right match.
You must built an inference engine that translates every interaction into Matchwords and travel personas that can be matched back to hotels. This is an entirely different and separate approach to the PersonaBranding. But the two are tightly linked with numerous databases that are evaluating and perfecting the cross references and ultimate matches.
Nuclear Search It requires a new Search and Compare system that is immediate, visual and insightful. These systems have been used in nuclear and chemical sciences using organic algorithms that provide ultra fast search, filtering and matching.
A Total Departure From the Way Things Are! These system are unlike anything used in travel. It requires intelligence that looks for indicators of compatibly and contrary indicators that together validate the overall ‘right fit’ in an evolutionary process.
In PersonaHolidays the result is stunning interactions with pages that dance in immediate response to every click at the speed of thought!
PersonaHolidays is a technology that can be added to any tourism destination marketing site, as well as the sites of hotel and tourism associations, hotel chains, and city and travel marketing agencies. It is being licensed to the Barbados Tourism Authority with several other contracts now underway.
The PersonaHolidays application may also be set up as a 3rd-party marketing site for any interested party.
Tnooz just reported that the startup Travelsify has been selected by AccorHotels to add mood matching to its hotel search and trip planning. It is a sign of the times, where hospitality suppliers have started to recognize that Travel is all about the experience and that the product has more to do with emotion than the cut-and-dried check boxes for amenities, place, price and features. It’s also a result of the dramatic rise of Artificial Intelligence and smart systems as well as the growing understanding of how psychology influences travel planning.
The Travelsify startup has raised €2 million in seed funding from angel investors and the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy to build the system now used by AccorHotels and a total of 300,000 hotels in all. The funding and the partnership with Accor demonstrates that persona matching technology has grown up and is now center stage as an alternative to traditional search for hotels and holiday experiences.
Marriott Hotels also got more personal with its persona quiz announced recently. It too confirms that hotel personality matching is now mainstream and not just a fun sideline to holiday planning. In fact, we believe that it is the future of Search in Travel.
Technology Pioneered by RealHolidays in 1999
This is not new and AccorHotels and Marriott are by no means the first mood matching solutions. The technology was pioneered a decade ago by RealHolidays, the precursor to the hotel personality matchmaker and PersonaHolidays. That project is now FascinatingTravelers by pairing them with hotels and holiday experiences that match their personality.
Actually it is a little more in-depth than that; the engine behind it is firstly a system that brands hotel by personality. On the other end is the Matchwords Engine that takes those personalities traits and generates the travel persona words that fit the hotel personality. And it matches travellers with holiday experiences by predicting who they are based on what they do.
Persona Inference Engine Predicts Personality/Mood
PersonaHolidays for Fascinating Travelers is different to any other mood matcher, including how AccorHotels’ Travellers searches hotels by mood, in that travellers do not have to select a mood at all. The PersonaHolidays Inference Engine is actively at work with every user interaction to infer the travellers’ persona based on their activity.
The travellers’ persona is then matched with hotels and experiences. The expert system understands that every hotel offers a unique experience and that Travel is about experiences, not about products and, at the same time, appreciates that location, place, amenities and proximity are all important. It goes one step further by predicting mood and personality based on every user interaction.
PersonaHolidays and its underlying Personality Fascinating Technology understands the meaning behind travellers’ choices. Amenities and location are still important but more and more travellers are looking for a holiday that matches who they are, and Persona does that.
A separate search option is also available to let the system find one’s personality based on selecting personality preferences.
The PersonaHolidays approach is the result of 10 years of experience with the RealHolidays Hotel Matchmaker. It includes all the lessons learned in building the first Inference Engine for Travel. The Inference Engine facilitates personality matching by interpreting every user’s interaction in terms of its underlying motivation. Our personality matching expert system learns from all that a traveller is doing on the site and especially what they are looking at. It understands the traveller’s persona and the characteristics that best match that personality.
Of course, the Inference Engine is just one part of the system. It helps define the traveller but matching that with a hotel requires also knowing the personality of each hotel. For that the system uses the premier personality branding assessment tools in the industry. Each hotel is classified by a professional team that takes the hoteliers through a thorough assessment to uncover their personality and their Point of Fascination. The assessment is done for the managers/owners and for the brand itself.
Lightening Fast Search, Filtering & Visual Display
Most importantly, the technology is unparalleled in speed and insight, using advanced filtering and visual displays that simply jump off the screen. See the nuclear fast hotel search, filtering and pairing in the video below –
Notice the nuclear explosively fast, intuitive filtering and paring!! This innovation technology is not used in any hotel search or booking site anywhere other than in personaholidays. It was developed by Kathy Lynn Ward COO of the team behind Persona Holidays and is based on techniques used in chemical and nuclear algorithms. It is designed for the rigors of nuclear and chemical need for massive filtering, matching and pairing.
Nuclear hotel search and pairing is a new breed of generic algorithm design for engineering information where the parts are dynamic, evolving and exponential! Like nuclear fusion and human personality – with a million combinations of DNA!
Building on the Uniqueness of Each Hotel
PersonaHolidays matching systems understand what makes a hotel truly special. This comes from years of testing and aligning the systems with personal knowledge, brand psychology assessment and feedback from real guests. We have tracked thousands of travellers and correlated hundreds of matchwords with personality assessment to create a spot-on pairing experience for travellers.
Watch the video (above) to the end and you will be able to request a consultation and apply for details on the licensing for your market.
Siri co-founder and CEO Dag Kittlaus demos the voice assisted, artificial intelligence new media network.
Called Viv it is a world-first. Demoed at TechCrunch Disrupt NY . Similar to its predecessor Siri, “Viv wants to build a conversational and smart layer that lets you interact with various services”. Viv goes further. There is a developer platform and an entire digital media behind it and one on which developers and users can add more services.
Viv is the new voice driven systems built by separate teams who are programming the programs of the new media. Media defined as communications, systems and data totally merged. And of course its intelligent.
What is Media
This is the standard definition by the Business Directory: Communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and internet. Media is the plural of medium and can take a plural or singular verb, depending on the sense intended. Source: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/media.html#ixzz48j0C9yQf
Search is Media
Its pretty inclusive but it does not cover Search as media or AI. We have proposed before that Search is a Digital Media in every sense of the work.
<a href=”http://axses-ianclayton.blogspot.com/2011/10/search-as-media-4-googles-hotel-finder.html”> search as media in travel,</a> and before that asked if <a href=”http://axses-ianclayton.blogspot.com/2011/09/is-search-new-media.html”>search was the new media</a> and looked at now I wonder what is not media.<br />
Perhaps it is all merging into AI. And perhaps it is no accident that the force behind the latest AI media is the the search giant Google.
No wonder Google Leads the Way with AI as Media
The Verge on Viv is Next generation AI assistant
According to The Verge Viv, is a next generation AI assistant which google has been developing for the last 4 years. “The goal was to create a better version of Siri, one that connected to a multitude of services, instead of routinely shuffling queries off to a basic web search. During a 20-minute demo onstage at Disrupt NYC, Viv flawlessly handled a number of complex requests, not just in terms of comprehension, but by connecting with third-party merchants to purchase goods and book reservations.” They go on to elaborate that Viv’s approach is Messenger bots, that connects to multiple merchants and suppliers to execute a requests, find answers and book reservations. Vivs tagline — intelligence becomes a utility — “sums up its goal of powering the conversational AI inside a multitude of gadgets and digital services.”
“The critical distinction here is between broad horizontal AI and specialized vertical AI. A service like x.ai, which shares investors with Viv, is focused on just one thing: scheduling meetings. It does this task very well, but it can’t do anything else. Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and their ilk are meant to be broad AI, able to handle a variety of different tasks. They act as the command and control bot, forwarding on queries to the appropriate bot for booking a hotel room or ordering flowers. So far Amazon and Facebook have been clear that their approach will aim to integrate with as many third-party services as possible. Siri and Google Now, on the other hand, have remained more closed off. Source: http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/9/11639992/viv-digital-assistant-ai-artificial-intelligence-siri
AI as Media
We have argued that search is media and search is moving to AI – First in the algorithm that decides what to present as search result, that now has become the search brain and behind it is machine learning and AI. Now we see AI as a personal assistant and we see that it is a network delivering systems that learn what we want from information, entertainment, communications, search results and ecommerce. It is the new Digital Media.
Get my latest book on Marketing hotels and Tourism – Covers Website – Digital Media and Technology in a 3 part series.
The Artificial intelligence which Google new head of search will implement includes “deep neural networks, networks of hardware and software that approximate the web of neurons in the human brain.”
Not a small undertaking I think. But can machines think? Stephen Hawkins says we should be very careful what we entrust to AI and to the new intelligent robots. He speculates that we may build it but we may not control it! Now that is a scary thought. But maybe its ok in search “By analyzing vast amounts of digital data, these neural nets can learn all sorts of useful tasks, like identifying photos, recognizing commands spoken into a smartphone, and, as it turns out, responding to Internet search queries. In some cases, they can learn a task so well that they outperform humans. They can do it better. They can do it faster. And they can do it at a much larger scale.” Ok, I get it. Hawkins may be right – we are building AI that will out-think us!
But its going to take some time and as I am getting on in age I suspect I will not be subject to the machine, but who know. Anyway it is a bold step forward for Google to reinvent search which today relies on a huge set of rules and 500 plus variables that are tweaked and changed each day. That sounds like AI to me already. But the difference is that the new AI does not have rules, it learns and adjust based on history. So it cant be outsmarted by SEO geeks who study the rules and fix pages and content so that they get on-top of search results regardless. Its not clear if AI will be the technology of mobile as the latest Google mobile travel initiative is to bypass search altogether and revert back to digital guides of googles choices. Maybe AI will build those choices?.
Its not entirely new and its been around in Google for several years. It got included in search in 2015 when Google dropped in its deep learning system called RankBrain to generate responses to search queries. it is now “a very large fraction” of the millions of queries that go through the search engine with each passing second. That AI department was headed by John Giannandrea who is now taking over Google search. But it was Amit Singhal, who just retired as head of search who approved the roll-out of RankBrain. For ages he resist the move as he knew it would be hard to understand how it would work and harder to manage. Apparently it is “difficult to understand how neural nets behave” and it can be almost impossible to to tweak their behavior”. … Stephen Hawkins you were Right!
See the article at http://www.wired.com/2016/02/ai-is-changing-the-technology-behind-google-searches/
Levels of AI
In our company we have experimented with behavior responsive systems, predictive technology and personalization. We build RealHolidays dynamic package way back in 1999 and have used that matchmaker technology in the latest holiday planning system at http://holidas.barbados.org. Its not AI but a fun way of helping people find the right holiday experience by building a personality profile based on their choices and matching that back to hotel of like character. See the write up on the blog. http://barbados.org/blog/new-holiday-planner-launched/#.VrSkShhe5vA
Then their is AI singularity meaning that the transformation is so profound that we cannot see beyond the event horizon. And that one huge step away from behaviours responsive technology. I think it is what Hawkins was anxious about and it takes a scientific mind to even comprehend it. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
“The technological singularity is a hypothetical event in which artificial general intelligence (constituting, for example, intelligent computers, computer networks, or robots) would be capable of recursive self-improvement (progressively redesigning itself), or of autonomously building ever smarter and more powerful machines than itself, up to the point of a runaway effect—an intelligence explosion—that yields an intelligence surpassing all current human control or understanding. Because the capabilities of such a superintelligence may be impossible for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is the point beyond which events may become unpredictable or even unfathomable to human intelligence.”
Ray Kurzweil, futurist, inventor and the Author of “Singularity is Near”, predicts singularity will occur around 2045
For more like this see The Peter Diamandis story – Limited time free movie at http://www.visioneermovie.com/free-viewing/
Search Today and Tomorrow
Building website that are optimised for search listing has in the past been an obsession with keywords. We have perfected the art of balancing keyword density, getting the perfect meta descriptions and link profiles. All are still valid but search engines far more intelligent today that they were a year ago and they will be far more intelligent tomorrow. Logic and machine learning based on troves of behavior metrics are gauging users experience, and evaluating every website accordingly. They measure site speed, mobile friendliness, site structure, content, relevance, authority and many other signals. Ultimately they are looking for websites that provide valid answers to travelers questions and concerns.
I cover this in my Book WEBSITE which is available on amazon, here are some more excerpts.
“Today you need to think about your website visitors at every stage of your web design and marketing process. It’s all about the users experience and we delve into that more in the next chapter. .To make your website appear in the Google search results, you have to know what your customers are typing into the search engine. Most might think of terms like “Family Holidays”, but search habits have become more semantic and people are now asking whole and complete sentences. The search term “Family Holidays” has evolved into a far more specific question, such as “what are the best holiday villas in the Caribbean for a family of four at under $250US per night”. Further down in the travel shopping cycle, they will be more specific and be looking for villa resorts in specific islands and areas. While search has become far more specific, you still have to cover the basic. If you answer these specific questions you will start to top the search engine rankings. So, ask yourself what your customers need help with and be sure to have those answers on your pages.”