Natural language generation for the tourism industry


Technological innovations are radically changing the tourism industry: on the one hand, they make travel easier, more convenient and, in some cases, more cost-effective for individuals; on the other hand, they open up new possibilities for tourism providers to set up their business processes efficiently and scalably. This year’s World Tourism Day on Friday, 27 September, will also address this issue: under the special topic “Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all”, it will examine the effects of digitisation on the tourism industry, among other things. It is currently facing major challenges and is therefore increasingly relying on solutions and applications from the digital economy – including Retresco, whose language technologies based on Artificial Intelligence support the tourism industry in making its business processes viable for the future.

The tourism industry – Facts & figures

According to current market data from the German Tourism Association (Figures – Data – Facts, Deutscher Tourismusverband e.V., 2018), the sector is booming like never before: with 478 million overnight stays in German hotels and accommodation facilities and around 185 million guest arrivals in Germany, the German tourism industry has reached new record levels. It is therefore hardly surprising that a total of 2.92 million people in the German workforce are directly employed in the tourism industry; this equates to 6.8 per cent of wage earners. In addition, tourism demand provides a direct gross value added of 105.3 billion euros. Tourism thus accounts for 3.9 percent of the total gross value added of the German economy – a higher contribution than mechanical engineering or retail trade.

It’s becoming clear that the market is huge, and so is the potential – if new technological trends are applied correctly. As a result of this high demand, an equally large supply is created: where in e-commerce it is necessary to assert oneself with convincing product descriptions, attractive travel offers and promising hotel descriptions are what count in tourism. In order to achieve a real chance of visibility in the search engines, it is essential to create texts for the entire range of products and services which are always up-to-date and appealing. The use of content automation efficiently supports this process and also ensures fully-automated SEO optimisation of hotel descriptions.

What can natural language generation do for the tourism industry?

It is becoming increasingly clear to travel providers that the customer journey of (potential) customers should be as smooth and positive as possible. Texts that put the customer in the desired holiday mood at the digital touchpoints and make him or her dream of the desired destination are an important component, because only a meaningful and attention-grabbing text increases the probability of a purchase or booking.

Companies whose business model is the sale or brokerage of tourist offers are always faced with the challenge of describing their – often hundreds – of thousands of products and services. Natural language generation offers efficient solutions here: special applications from the field of artificial intelligence make it possible to produce tourist offers on the basis of structured data.

Large tourism companies are increasingly moving away from using only editorial departments – internal or external – in the creation of product texts. Rather, traditional travel agents, hotel chains and purely digital platforms are already experimenting with AI-based language technologies: at the push of a button, NLG applications create hotel descriptions, sightseeing highlights and seasonal offers fully automatically.

For example, automatic text generation takes into account the number of rooms, the distance to the beach or the nearest ski resort, or specific extra offers from the hotel (e.g. whether a spa or sauna area is available or whether yoga courses are offered) in order to create natural-language texts. The offer description can also contain the current, future or seasonally-typical weather at the desired destination- the direct integration of corresponding weather data enables this flexibilisation of the customer experience.

Individually-tailored approaches and increased reach with automatic text generation

One of the major advantages of automation is the ability to efficiently optimise texts according to SEO aspects. Similar to the briefing of a human editor, NLG software offers the option to optimise a text for certain keywords and thus increase its reach in a competitive market. Especially in the long tail, this can be an effective tool to tap into new customer groups.

A further advantage is the channel- and target group-specific customer approach. Offers can be written in a way that is highly individual for the respective recipient: depending on the background, singles, young couples, families or business travellers see hotel descriptions, for example, in their own tone and with aspects that are particularly important for the target group. The seasonality can also be efficiently individualised with NLG, for instance if a hotel wants to present other texts or text elements online for the winter season than for the summer season.

Due to its international nature, the tourism industry is also predestined for the use of the technology in several languages. Retresco’s NLG solution, rtr textengine, allows the automatic translation of texts at an (almost) native language level.

Whether city, beach or mountains, campsite or hotel – with the appropriate data, texts for all destinations and accommodations can be created according to the target group. In this way, digital innovations such as Retresco’s AI-based language technologies help to make the tourism industry efficient, scalable and thus future-oriented – for even more revenue, jobs and flexibility.

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