Thomas Cook goes places with AI, analytics

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on April 11, 2019 Published on April 11, 2019

Thomas Cook India Ltd (TCIL) has seen a 14 per cent jump in lead conversion, with the use of analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and upgradation of its internal technology portal.

The travel service provider is now set to upgrade its mobile app, said Mahesh Iyer, ED and CEO of Thomas Cook.

Last year, the company acquired a 24 per cent stake in a travel-tech start-up, Travel Junkie Solution.

For access to analytics, TCIL partnered with Accenture. The entire cost of upgrading and integrating AI into its online, offline portals and mobile app cost around $1 million.

Speaking about why it was important to upgrade the technological portals, Iyer said: “Dynamic packaging is something the entire industry has not been able to crack. Companies can either build a great itinerary, price it correctly, make the bookings or fulfil the customer experience. But packaging and getting every bit right is something companies need to improve.”

“TCIL has bits of it right, and hence, to put everything together, we needed a technological tool which could bind all of these things together. Analytics and AI have helped us bridge those gaps,” he added.

Instead of spending heavily on advertising and hoping for returns, the company decided to invest in a tool which would give it accurate and researched results.

“On the basis of the intel that was provided to us by the AI tool, our conversion rates, which were 33-34 per cent, have gone up to 47 per cent overall.”

Upgarding app

Thomas Cook’s mobile app, available on both Andriod and IOS, has an userbase of over five lakh people.

However, the app is “static” at the moment, and so TCIL is planning to scale it up, said Iyer.

“We want to marry AI and the app. It’s a staged approach, it’s ongoing. We have already added real-time updates on the app. We want to add a social media connecter to it as well. We want to build an up-selling tab for customers who want to upscale their packages and put add-ons to their itinerary. We also want to add an online, real time feedback button along with selling forex via the app in the future,” he said.

In India, TCIL has ventured into several business that cater to the different needs of customers in the travel industry such as forex, inbound, outbound, leisure and business travel products, along with online and offline travel agencies.

“We want to create a touch point where our customers can be tapped and we will use this AI tool to create that experience,” said Iyer.

Published on April 11, 2019
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