TUI Group says it sold more than 31 million transfers in 2019, moving customers between airports, hotels and points of interest.
Starting this month in Mallorca and then rolling out worldwide, TUI is using a new platform for managing shared transportation – such as large and small buses, shuttles and cars – that is integrated with Mobi Systems’ machine-learning technology.
The system uses TUI’s customer booking data, such as flights, hotels and number of customers, along with data about flight delays, traffic, weather and vehicle inventory, to calculate the most efficient transfer plan, updating it in real time and automatically communicating the current route and timing to bus companies, drivers and travelers through the TUI app.
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“One of the key areas that has always been a source of tension for our guests … is the airport and the transfer,” says Peter Ulwahn, chief digital officer of TUI Musement, the tours and activities division of TUI Group.
“We now have for the first time a technology that can showcase the time to the first hotel, the number of hotels they are stopping at, if their bus is delayed. What we were aiming for was an Uber-style information kind of service that our customers have been getting used to with all the ride-sharing services.”
In addition to reducing stress for travelers, Ulwahn says Mobi’s machine-learning technology automatically recalculates routes as needed, eliminating timely manual processes and reducing operating costs and CO2 emissions through better vehicle optimization and routing.
“Integrating new technologies, such as machine learning, helps ensure we deliver the best customer experience through having a faster, more stable and more accurate platform,” Ulwahn says.
“Our transfer scheduling is already automated, but with Mobi it will be faster – what previously took hours can be done in seconds – and it will continue to become even more efficient. The huge advantage of this system is that it can scale to schedule the millions of transfers we manage, while also enabling us to deliver a personalized customer experience.”
The platform is being launched for airport transfers, but Ulwahn says it will eventually be used also for transportation for excursions, multi-day tours and cruise passengers.