Artificial Intelligence Meets Travel Booking: One Entrepreneur’s Story

I spent the last six months traveling Europe, and the most annoying part was the booking process. Though I rarely booked far in advance, I noticed each site offered me generic results, even when I was clearly looking for a unique experience.

Though a bargain was great to find, a hidden gem of a homestay would have been even better. That is why I was ecstatic when I first heard of Baarb, a new travel platform that helps users efficiently book hotels, hostels, and homestays.

Baarb gives users a personalized experience by understanding why you’re traveling and adapting to your preferences. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Baarb becomes smarter as you use it.

What started as just an idea to make travel planning easier has turned into a full fledged venture by Barbara Parshall, a former senior vice president at Fidelity Investments.

Though still in a beta testing phase, after speaking with Barbara about Baarb, I realized how intriguing the platform truly was: they use technology that is powered by a metasearch engine coupled with a proprietary algorithm as well as IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence.

This enables your searches to become custom tailored to your interests, meaning, of course, that your results will improve over time. After reading the crazy Expedia travel report statistic that an average travel planner visits 38 pages before making a booking, I was even more excited for this platform to launch.

When traveling, I realized that everyone has their own reasons for seeking adventure. Some are just on another business trip, while others are on a three month getaway. What stood out to me was that travelers established a sense of community among each other.

This lead me to experience some awesome adventures, from cliff jumping on the island of Andros, Greece, to hiking through deserted castles in Positano, Italy. With Baarb, each traveler has their own profile, the ‘Travel Profile’ feature, to be exact. This feature utilizes psychographic attributes to create the perfect travel experience.

When addressing their launch strategy, Barbara knows social media will play a huge part in their success. With travel influencers inspiring people across Instagram and Facebook, Baarb has taken a unique approach on these platforms by trying to engage with their followers.

To take unique steps towards engagement, Baarb is following a three step strategy:

Make It Viral

Not many people know this, but Facebook shows your posts in someone’s news feed based on the post’s level of engagement. The more people that interact with a post, the more people it will be shown to.

That is why when Baarb posts on their Facebook page, they ensure their posts have a high likelihood of being liked, shared, or commented on. To filter content that has a higher chance of getting interaction, make it a cool photo, interesting article, or funny video. Another neat way to find great content is to see what is trending on Reddit. Find a subreddit you think would appeal to your audience and then pull content from that subreddit.

Call Your Audience to Action

A special trick to get more engagement on your posts is to call your audience to action. This can include captions like, “Tag someone who agrees,” or, “Comment Your Favorite Travel Location”. Utilizing question fueled captions boosts organic engagement on your posts which will in turn help with ranking them in these social media newsfeed algorithms.

Calling your audience to action can also point towards your bio, as on platforms like Instagram, this is the only location you’ll be able to place a clickable link. This means whenever traffic from Instagram goes to your site, you know the traffic stemmed from the link in your bio.

Ride a Social Wave

If you see something trending, why not ride the trend? A key way to see trending topics is to look at the trending sections of Facebook or Twitter. Though these platforms are different from Instagram, the social wave usually spreads across platforms.

As an example, remember when the internet went crazy over the dress that was either blue and black or white and gold? Dozens of brands jumped at this opportunity to share their thoughts, and in turn, gained lots of natural exposure.

Though building engagement across social media platforms can be a challenge, it is essential for a business like Baarb that is putting social media at the forefront of their marketing strategy. If you’re looking to utilize social media for a launch, remember to ride social waves, call your audience to action, and make your posts viral in order to boost engagement.

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