Striking the Right Balance Between Technology and Human Insight

Striking the Right Balance Between Technology and Human Insight

Striking the Right Balance Between Technology and Human Insight
6th September 2023

We sit down with our Group Head of Marketing - Caroline Whitson; to discuss how to strike the right balance between technology and human insight when managing travel programmes.

AI and ChatGPT continue to dominate discussions in a time of rapid and often unprecedented technological progress. Alongside this, the maturation of the digitally-native Gen Z and internet-reared generations has highlighted the need to balance a high-tech approach with a personalised, human-centred service.

Undoubtedly, digitisation and automation have allowed travel industry players to enhance their product and service offerings, facilitating growth globally. Yet, as we embrace digitalisation's benefits, we must question whether humanity and technology are converging or drifting apart.

Happy colleagues working in an office on computers
SilverDoor balances the latest technology with a human-centred service

At SilverDoor, we firmly believe that maintaining balance remains crucial to harness the advantages of both humanity and technology. To grasp how these two elements can collaborate effectively, we must understand their individual strengths and roles.

In today's global business landscape, where companies operate both internationally and locally, modern business travellers and travel managers demand the ability to manage their travel programmes with ease. The industry has responded with innovations such as online booking tools, providing 24/7 visibility and control through digitally-enhanced traveller experiences. Additionally, technology's ability to handle large volumes of data, aggregating information on costs, carbon emissions, mileage, and delivering real-time insights on programme performance, compliance, tracking, and forecasting, is undeniable. These capabilities streamline operations and enhance efficiency, a feat impossible through manual analysis.

The Importance of Human Interaction managing travel programmes
Utilising both technology and humanity is essential to meet the changing client requirements involved in managing travel programmes

However, despite the convenience and insights technology offers, algorithms fall short in replicating various facets of the human touch. To quote the motivational speaker Bob Burg, "People buy from people that they know, like, and trust." In an era increasingly dominated by technology-driven solutions, the human touch is arguably more precious than ever. Intuition and emotional intelligence are highly valuable, especially when travel plans face unexpected disruptions. This is where humanity plays a vital role that is conspicuously absent in most apps and solutions. Hospitality and personal service have been the cornerstones of the travel industry since its inception, most evident in the relationships formed between the supply chain, travel managers, and travellers.

Applying experience, empathy, and understanding, particularly when itineraries change due to stressful situations like extreme weather or illness, is essential. Travellers want to feel valued, not like mere data entries on a spreadsheet, especially during business trips away from home. The worth of a human connection must not be underestimated. Warmth, integrity, instinct, and unbiased advice based on extensive industry knowledge and individual requirements demand empathy and experience that algorithms cannot replicate. Interpreting data nuances and melding reports and insights with human wisdom ensures the best recommendations and support for clients' travel programmes.

To strike the optimal balance, the answer lies in a deep understanding of traveller preferences and programme necessities. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when determining the high-touch-to-high-tech ratio. It varies among different travellers and clients and changes over time for particular programmes and individuals. The key to achieving the perfect harmony is maintaining a clear grasp of the benefits of both elements and deploying them thoughtfully. This ensures support that not only serves its purpose but also possesses the flexibility to adapt to evolving client requirements, unlocking the full potential of both technology and humanity. 

The key to achieving the perfect harmony is maintaining a clear grasp of the benefits of both elements and deploying them thoughtfully. This ensures support that not only serves its purpose but also possesses the flexibility to adapt to evolving client requirements, unlocking the full potential of both technology and humanity. 

This content has also been featured on Serviced Apartment News and can be found here 


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