7 Ways AI Already Is Helping Incentive Planners

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Travel incentive participants interacting with AIA fictional case study outlines how incentive planners are already using AI to plan their incentive travel programs.

Incentive planners already are finding some intriguing ways to use AI to help plan and executive their incentive travel program. A fictional case study published in the most recent Academic in Research Action, written by IRF Chief Academic Advisor Allan Schweyer, outlines some of the ways planners are using AI, as well as how they meet the challenges they face, as they incorporate this new technology into their travel incentive planning and execution.

  1. Pre-Event Tailoring. As is the case with most real-world incentive planners, the designers of the fictional program wanted to tailor their fictional travel incentive to what each individual attendee prefers and expects — and provide programming that will be memorable and give attendees a deeper appreciation of the organization. They started their process by using AI to analyze what attendees actually enjoyed the most, as well as what they said they wanted, to whittle down the list of destinations, venues and activities.
  2. Content Customization. The next step was to use AI to align the educational sessions, entertainment and other elements of the event content to the interests of each participant.
  3. Operational Efficiency. The fictional designers then freed themselves from the drudge work by having AI handle routine tasks such as email communications and agenda management.
  4. Personalized Merchandise. Personalization doesn’t stop with agendas, venues, destination choice and activities, so the fictional travel incentive designers used AI to help them pick merchandise that also is customized to each attendee. And they used AI-powered smart recommendation systems to pair attendees with merch that matched their specific tastes.
  5. Dynamic Itinerary Adjustments. It’s not called travel, rather than getting there, for a reason — weather, traffic jams on the way to the airport, and a host of other unexpected snags inevitably will arise. The fictional travel incentive designers stayed on top of the changes with AI so they could adjust plans in real time.
  6. Customized Guest Room Experience. Participants may want their rooms cleaned daily, or they may not. They may like their rooms warmer, or cooler. Guest room preferences run the gamut, but rather than having to track everything via spreadsheet, the fictional travel incentive planners used AI to personalize the room experience to each individual’s preferences.
  7. On-Site Personalization. As is usually the case in real life, the fictional designers also had to adjust on the fly — only in this case, they used facial recognition and sentiment analysis to help them figure out what participants were finding most engaging so they could adjust the program.

Among the challenges the fictional incentive travel planners faced — which likely would mirror their real-world counterparts, was ensuring attendees’ data is kept both private and secure. Facial recognition may not be something all attendees would be on board with, for example, so they need to be reassured that it would not be intrusive, and that their data would be collected and stored securely.

Another challenge was seamlessly integrating multiple AI systems, as well as training staff on how to work with the various AI tools and systems being deployed.

The rewards, however, were worth working through the challenge, at least for this fictional case study. In this case, attendees were wowed by the personalized experience and merchandise, especially the room drops. On the organizer end, the designers found they had to spend less time on routine tasks, which freed them up to use their energy toward more creative and strategic goals.

Read the full article here to learn more about the specific systems used and details of how they were deployed.

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