This week’s top marketing story is about artificial intelligence (AI).

Advancements in AI are making waves across industries, from the “smart assistants” that power our phones to “smart learning” software applications, which enable more efficient internet searches and which beat humans at complex strategy games.

One of Skift’s Megatrends for 2017 is that AI is becoming a reality in the travel industry at last.

It is finding its way into a range of travel products, including dynamic pricing and forecasting tools for airlines and hotels and more efficient processing of business expense reports. Customer service chatbots are usually powered by AI, too, and Expedia, KLM, Microsoft, and Volaris have done interesting experiments with it.

What other AI opportunities exist for travel? Keep reading for more, plus the rest of this week’s stories.

How Will AI Transform the Travel Industry?
There’s lots of talk in the press these days about “artificial intelligence,” a potentially game-changing tool that will allow machines to learn and interact with humans in more fluid ways. There are already lots of opportunities to integrate AI tech into current business strategies, though the field is rapidly evolving. Read more

How Useful is Virtual Reality for Marketers?
Much like artificial intelligence, virtual reality is in the midst of an aggressive period of marketing hype. But many travel brands still struggle with how to design content for virtual reality (VR) as well as how to use it to achieve business goals. This interview with a leading VR expert offers some great best practices. Read more

Taking a Fresh Look at Marriott’s Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is everywhere in the travel industry these days, but it wasn’t always the case. Hotel brands like Marriott were among the first in the industry to heavily invest in content marketing and storytelling. This interview with Marriott executive David Beebe offers an update on the company’s content effort over the past several years. Read more

Marriott Invests in the Tours and Activities Sector
Tours and activities is one of the more unusual sectors in the travel business. Not only has it been difficult to bring tour operators into the digital realm, it has also been tough to figure out scalable ways to sell tour inventory. Marriott’s recent investment stake in a tours and activities booking engine called PlacePass suggests that it sees lots of opportunity in this sector. It invests at a time that Royal Caribbean has created a tour-booking site, GoBe, and Airbnb has invested in a Trips product. Read more

Photo Credit: Artificial intelligence is transforming the world of business. Will the travel industry be next? Karl-Ludwig Poggemann / Flickr