Simplifying Travel Bookings

Retail | Artificial Intelligence

ITV is on a mission to continuously modernise and improve. It wants to achieve this without damaging the culture, creative and commercial strength of its business. In light of this goal, the broadcaster wanted to understand how it could utilise AI technology to deliver modern and efficient ways of working for its staff.
A frustrating and expensive process

A particularly expensive and frustrating process within the organisation was its in-house travel booking system. It was manual in nature, often taking over 15 minutes to book a single trip. As a result, ITV identified the travel booking system as the first process within the business that could benefit from AI technology. However, it had limited experience of using AI and was therefore unsure of its feasibility with its existing infrastructure and whether employees would accept the technology.

Long-standing relationship

ITV wanted to experiment. It wanted to test the use of AI to assess the technology’s feasibility and also improve the travel booking process. The solution would need to integrate with existing infrastructure and be built iteratively using user feedback. BJSS has a long-standing relationship with ITV. It has worked extensively with the broadcaster on projects such as the delivery of a robust yet flexible system that manages the complex payments for talent and contributors across the entertainment industry.

This highly sophisticated and bespoke system was delivered with minimal disruption and now handles hundreds of thousands of payments annually. The success of the project led to BJSS being awarded the ITV Insider Award for Excellence in Agility and Flexibility.
This proven success within ITV, combined with its ability in identifying the right AI solution for large enterprises, saw BJSS being selected to support ITV in developing a user-tested AI solution for its travel booking system.

Delivered iteratively

The work with ITV commenced with the Define phase. Here ITV’s AI vision was identified during a series of workshops, and users were interviewed about their experience of the travel booking process. BJSS also examined the process to understand its inefficiencies and how it could be improved. 

The output of this was then used to inform the Design stage. At this point, BJSS rapidly developed a bespoke prototype Chatbot solution to meet the requirements identified in the Define phase, all within three weeks of the project commencing. The travel Chatbot prototype was then tested amongst users and iteratively improved using their feedback. This resulted in refinements to the visual design of the solution and alterations to the Chatbot personality.

“In a short space of time, the BJSS team collaborated very effectively with a wide variety of people across the business teams. From this they understood how to make the best use of the technology to solve the business problems.”

Robert Cole, Head of Group Technology Architecture, ITV

User-centric Travel Chatbot

The result is a user-centric Chatbot travel solution that has been integrated with Google Hangouts – ITV’s communication platform. The Chatbot carries out the manual process associated with making travel arrangements. It finds the travel options that align with ITV policy and allows users to make a booking with ease.

With the Chatbot, ITV staff can book their travel faster than ever before, all while saving ITV considerable costs as a result of bookings being made in line with company policy.

As a result of this engagement, BJSS and ITV have identified a roadmap to develop the solution further so that it is integrated within ITV’s existing infrastructure before scaling it across the organisation.

Results

By working with BJSS, ITV was able to deploy an initial Chatbot prototype solution to test amongst users within three weeks. This was a phenomenal achievement considering ITV’s uncertainty around whether users would accept AI technology.

“The proof of concept has helped us understand what is possible and what the benefits are. It has also made the business teams excited about moving forward in this area. I’m very impressed with what BJSS has achieved and the approach they took.”

Robert Cole, Head of Group Technology Architecture, ITV

The feedback from users has been promising, with 85% stating that they would like the Chatbot to replace the legacy travel booking system, and it is clear to see why.

Following tests, the Chatbot solution is set to save employees a collective 25,000 minutes a month when making travel bookings. As a result, staff are enabled to spend more time on high-value tasks.

Its intuitive and modern user-interface feels familiar with members of staff who are increasingly using Chatbot services in their personal lives. Its simplistic and automated nature has also reduced the need for staff training.

The system running costs will also see a reduction each a month, and by bringing the Chatbot in line with ITV policy, hotel and travel costs are projected to be reduced. With staff making more bookings within ITV policy, cancellations are also expected to decrease, helping to generate further savings.

The success of this project has encouraged ITV to explore Chatbot technology further and understand how it can be applied to other areas of its business. Crucially, the technology will be tested amongst users to create solutions that put staff needs first. Employees will feel more enabled, less time-constrained, and for ITV, the technology is already proving its ability to save the business a considerable amount of costs.