Business travelers see benefits of AI but reluctant to share biometric data

A majority of business travelers believe that artificial intelligence can make travel safer, and three-quarters believe it can enable a more personalized experience, but 27 percent are reluctant to share biometric data to improve AI travel systems, according to a survey by SAP Concur.

Many people are reluctant to share information, despite 92 percent saying they have experience interacting with AI systems. People are most willing to share an email address (54 percent), travel preferences (52 percent), and gender (46 percent), while only 25 percent are willing to share a home address, and only one-third are willing to share a phone number.

“Business travelers foresee a lot of potential in how AI can power the next generation of travel. From safety to preference, AI will change the very core of the travel experience for the better. And yet, the results reveal a trust issue that could be detrimental to these visions becoming a reality,” said SAP Concur SVP and MD EMEA North Chris Baker.

“AI systems need data in order to learn. Without data they aren’t able to improve and, at the moment, it seems that people are not willing to share data – biometrics aside – that they happily swap via social platforms on the internet every day of the week. Companies building AI systems have to demonstrate that data privacy, protection and governance is at the core of their offering.”

The top advantages expected of AI in future travel experiences are automated travel expensing (23 percent), recommended actions based on events like flight cancellation (19 percent), and personalized restaurant recommendations (18 percent). Voice assistants are the first type of AI platform 64 percent of people think of, followed by robots with language capabilities (50 percent), and chatbots, which only 12 percent of respondents said would be beneficial for travel bookings.

The WTTC and IATA recently agreed to work together to harmonize biometric standards and interoperability throughout the travel sector, as AI and biometrics adoption picks up in airports.

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