New research shows more than half of business travellers believe artificial intelligence (AI) can make their trips safer.

According to a survey of 527 business travellers by SAP Concur, many believe technology such as predictive risk alerts around natural disasters would decrease the risk involved in travel.

Furthermore, 75 per cent stated they think AI will be the ‘engine room’ of more personalised experiences.

Some of the potential benefits outlined by respondents include automated travel expensing (23 per cent), automated recommended actions based on events such as flights being cancelled (19 per cent) and personalised recommendations relating to restaurants (18 per cent).

The top three AI technologies that sprang to mind for respondents were voice assistants (64 per cent), language-capable robots (50 per cent) and chat bots (12 per cent).

Despite the majority of business travellers seeing the potential for AI to improve their trips, many are not willing to share data in order for the technology to work properly.

Among the most popular types of data business travellers are willing to share is email (54 per cent), travel preferences (52 per cent) and their gender (46 per cent). Respondents were more hesitant to share their place of residence (25 per cent), biometrics (27 per cent) and phone number (33 per cent).

Chris Baker, SVP and MD of EMEA North at SAP Concur, said: “Business travellers foresee a lot of potential in how AI can power the next generation of travel. From safety to preference, AI will change the very core of the travel experience for the better. And yet, the results reveal a trust issue that could be detrimental to these visions becoming a reality.

“AI systems need data in order to learn. Without data they aren’t able to improve and, at the moment, it seems that people are not willing to share data – biometrics aside – that they happily swap via social platforms on the internet every day of the week. Companies building AI systems have to demonstrate that data privacy, protection and governance is at the core of their offering. It’s their responsibility to show they can be trusted because unless they win consumers over, the scope of AI to deliver on user expectations will be fundamentally impinged.

“That 92 per cent of respondents indicated that they had already interacted with some form of AI demonstrates how embedded the technology is becoming in everyday life. The challenge now is to utilise these platforms in order to deliver tangible benefits to travellers.”

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