Chad McDermott -

Holiday Extras uses machine learning and artificial intelligence for personalisation

Travel firm Holiday Extras has introduced machine learning and artificial intelligence into its smartphone app to give users a more personalised experience

Holiday Extras has launched an application that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to personalise its user experience.

The company, which allows consumers to book extra services when they travel, has begun using AI to use customer data to make service or product recommendations that are more likely to meet a particular customer’s needs.

Andy Britcliffe, group technology director at Holiday Extras, said implementing this technology was part of the firm’s goal of focusing on customers as individuals as opposed to only considering consumer transactions.

“Part of our long-term strategy is to create a vastly more personalised experience for our customers around their travel, utilising data in a way that brings together a person’s trip in its entirety, rather than as a series of unconnected interactions,” he said.

Consumers are becoming more in control of their shopping experiences due to an increasing technology adoption and choice, forcing retailers to adapt to attract and retain customers.

Offering a personalised experience is a big part of this, with customers expecting brands and retailers to treat them as an individual.

The in-house technology team at Holiday Extras used open source data query language and native application framework GraphQL and React Native, alongside its own in-house applications to interpret data about customers and their trips to offer personalised recommendations using real-time product offers from across the web.

The application will automatically generate a personalised trip, including matters such as airport parking and hotels.

Customers can also purchase products while their trip is in progress by using digital payments technologies, such as Apple Wallet, Apple Pay and Android Pay to complete the transaction.

The app is part of an ongoing technology strategy Holiday Extras is undergoing to build more technology services for its customers, with the firm also recently launching trip-planning app, Heha.

Holiday Extras CEO, Matthew Pack, said organisations are increasingly focussed on using data to offer customers a more relevant experience as “we live in the era of big data”.

It is become harder for retailers to attract and retain fickle consumers, and Pack said consumers want “more insight, more flexibility and more personalisation” as opposed to being “bombarded with irrelevancies”.

But many companies struggle to use their data to produce insight, and in many cases legacy IT systems are preventing retailers from using consumer data to offer a personalised customer experience.

Some larger retailers have opted for working with startups to overcome the challenges faced by legacy IT.

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