Rentalcars Connect, the B2B ground transportation arm of, carried out a live Travel Pulse at its 2018 partner event in Edinburgh this month and found that the industry is committed to providing its customers with value for money and convenient services.

When asked to specify their customers’ top priority, representatives from global airlines, airports and comparison sites recognised value for money services (37%) and convenience (32%) as the most important elements in the booking process.

The survey also revealed that 19% rated personalisation and 11% loyalty benefits as the thing their customers would value most in the next few years.

Fraser Ellacott, the company's managing director, said: “Shaping the customer journey to be as streamlined as possible and in turn offering value for money is the industry’s top priority. To do this, we need to work together to understand what the customer wants and collaborate in order to remove as much friction as possible from the booking process. This is the key to creating a convenient one-stop-shop for all services related to a customer’s trip.”

Partners at the event were also asked about the different ways in which technology could affect their business in the near future. The results revealed that 70% are looking to embrace AI and use it to benefit their businesses, while 18% stated that they would be hesitant to embrace AI due to lack of understanding of how it might benefit a business or a shortage of in-house skills and resources to implement it.

Only 12% of partners said they have no plans to adopt AI. When asked about the role big data would play in their business over the next few years, 82% of partners said that it could help provide useful insight into customer behaviour and improve the customer journey, alongside automation of processes (56%) and facilitating flexible pricing structures for products and services (58%).

Fraser added: “Technology is infiltrating and revolutionising the travel industry. It’s promising to see that our partners are acutely aware of how it can perfect the current processes and services we offer as an industry. Both AI and big data have the potential to facilitate and refine every part of the booking process, from predicting demand to automating services and helping to create a seamless customer experience.”

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