How TripAdvisor Uses Voice Technology to Improve Business: Questions and Answers with Christine Maguire

Christine Maguire, general manager and vice president of global media business TripAdvisor, joins Neha Pradhan Kulkarni to talk about how effective voice technology can be for the travel industry in the next few years. They revolve in their conversations around voice technology, whether it’s a new kind of hiss or it will significantly increase sales.

In this issue, Tech Talk Maguire discusses how voice technology can become a strategic win-win option for the tourism industry’s environmental initiatives. She also talks about how the travel company has leveled its results in artificial intelligence and machine learning in a competitive market.

Key Findings on How to Use Voice Technology to Boost Your Business:

  • Create the perfect exciting experience with voice technology for those looking for directions.
  • Use machine learning to collect data and fill in the conversational tree for each user.
  • Help travelers find the most sustainable way to travel with voice technology.

Here are edited excerpts from our exclusive interview with Christine Maguire from TripAdvisor:

1. From a career in accounting and finance to leading a team that has won the TripAdvisor Award for “The Most Innovative Use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning”. What inspired you to campaign for AI / ML technology?

My financial foundation has served me well throughout my career – from a startup such as VEVO, to an outdated publisher such as Condé Nast, and now a global travel platform that has been dramatically disrupted by a global pandemic. There is nothing better than being able to work with profits and profits if you run a business – especially in an industry that has been hit hard by the night and has been recovering erratically. After all, we provide profits to our partners where we reach new consumers in unexpected ways.

When I joined Tripadvisor in 2019, I was tasked with managing the company’s global media strategy and operations – making better use of the company’s international consumer demand to make a profit from new digital advertising solutions. I am thrilled with our further evolution to AI / ML companies because my goal was rethink marketing in the tourism landscape, and this has created a unique and productive way to stimulate innovation while capturing the demand for travel.

Read more: Tech Talk interview with Lars Selsos of Boost.ai about conversational AI

2. What measurable impact has the use of voice technology had on TripAdvisor, especially during the pandemic?

A virtual tour with voice technology to a destination on Alexa gave inspiration and entertainment at a time when people were asked to stay home. Thousands of customers have enjoyed this skill, and on average users have spent more than four minutes in an exciting experience answering approximately seven queries. Extrapolated, this resulted in approximately 450 hours of interaction with Orlando content during the initial deployment experience. The skill currently has a 5-star rating in the Alexa Skills Store, and survey results suggest that users really like it. The Tripadvisor ad group also uses these survey results to continually iterate and improve the experience based on user feedback.

As in Orlando, with the addition of voice technology, Abu Dhabi attended over 1,300 hours of participation. In addition, 97% of users say they have not been to Abu Dhabi before, and more than two-thirds of those who have enjoyed the experience said it has increased the likelihood of visiting Abu Dhabi in the future.

3. Over the past two years, COVID-19 has forced the tourism industry to adapt and innovate. What other ways can we expect exciting sound experiences to change the travel industry and become ready for the future?

The huge success of our world’s first skills from Abu Dhabi and Orlando not only demonstrated a natural synergy with voice technology, but also sparked tremendous interest from customers from all angles before we could create for them the perfect diving experience.

As consumers ask Alexa an average of seven questions in each experience, we learned how powerful conversational voice technology can be in relation to travel. People turn to us for advice on every aspect of their trip, and voice technology acts as a natural extension of this with its conversational nature.

A few examples “Alexa, Open, Retail Brand” Sustainable Adventures “, based on data, it can lead users on a tour of the world’s popular sustainable destinations, runs in these areas, sustainable ways of traveling and talking about how to compensate for their carbon footprint.

“Alexa, open road trips ‘Auto Brand'”, in this example Alexa can ask users questions to determine their trip, including who they are traveling with, how far they want to travel, etc. Alexa then provides users with their travel plan, including top Tripadvisor recommendations and reviews. There is also the potential to create a specific experience in the Alexa car with the help of a sponsorship card.

Read more: How long until we all use AI sales assistants?

4. In the past, the travel industry has faced waves of technological evolution, and not all have been successful in delivering the promised return on investment. In your opinion, is voice technology a new kind of hiss or will it dramatically increase sales?

Voice technology is an innovative and destructive force in the market that can ultimately run more business. The use of voice technology has enabled Tripadvisor to think outside the box and create unique experiences.

By leaning toward this dimension of creativity, the team was able to explore the possibilities of immersion in audio to capture and connect advertisers with a wider audience.

Read more: Should AI software be included in your payroll systems?

5. Two of the main challenges for artificial intelligence and machine learning are lack of skills and competing priorities. And many of your peers have not yet had the opportunity to implement AI. How did you align TripAdvisor AI and ML results with these issues?

Although Tripadvisor and Alexa rely on a huge amount of machine learning, the skills of Abu Dhabi and Orlando are built on smart technology, keeping in mind the best UX.

The amount of time users spend on this experience shows how much value they get. We have combined our capabilities of intensive data collection and machine learning with discovery to create a conversational tree that adapts content to the user.

Our main belief is to focus on creating the best experience for our customers and consumers. And because we want to make sure we use smart ways to achieve this, we continue to lead with customers and consumers, because the performance of these skills is a clear indication of this.

6. Sustainable development initiatives are also a top priority for the travel industry. Can you share with us how voice technology can become a strategic win-win option for the environmental initiatives and business goals of the tourism industry?

We know that sustainability initiatives are a top priority for tourism brands, mainly because they are a top priority for travelers.

Conversational interfaces, such as voice technology, allow us to help travelers find the most sustainable way to travel for them, while adding tips and training on how to travel.

The conversational interface allows users to narrow down what is important to them by using more natural language. Facilitating for consumers the search for sustainable travel and sustainable management of their travel will lead to greater acceptance.

Read more: 4 Voice of Customer (VoC) programs to improve the customer experience (CX)

7. What AI and ML trends will be important to the travel industry in 2022 and beyond when it starts waking up from sleep blocking?

It will be interesting to see how the journey embraces the Metasworld as it introduces consumers to a whole new direction. Tripadvisor is already figuring out how we can take advantage of this new experience through content and partnership with the brand. And we are glad to see what the future holds.

About Christine Maguire

Christine joined Tripadvisor in a new position in April 2019 to lead the company’s global media strategy and operations, as well as make better use of the company’s international consumer demand and increase revenue through new digital advertising solutions. In a short period of time, it has changed the company’s approach to creating media solutions and data-based advertising, helping advertisers of various verticals reach valuable consumer travel and restaurant platforms with more than 460 million users monthly.

About Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel platform, helps hundreds of millions of people become better travelers each month, from planning and booking to travel. Travelers around the world use the Tripadvisor website and app to find out where to stay, what to do and where to eat based on the directions of those who have been there before. With over 988 million reviews and opinions of nearly 8 million companies, travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find accommodation deals, book experiences, book tables at delicious restaurants and discover great places nearby.

About Tech Talk

Tech Talk is a series of interviews with well-known technical directors and senior technology executives from around the world. Join us as we talk to these leaders in technology and IT who share their thoughts and research in data, analytics and new technologies. If you are a technical expert and want to share your thoughts, write neha.pradhan@swzd.com

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