Artificial intelligence is driving personalization forward, but it’s still in the early stages. As Bruno Chauvat, chief executive officer and co-founder of Travelsify put it, “Surprisingly, the travel industry mainly focused on gathering user data but underestimated the need for advanced product data in AI and personalization.”

He and Jeriad Zoghby, global personalization lead at Accenture, spoke with SkiftX executive editor Greg Oates at Skift Global Forum 2017 about the two-sided coin of personalization: traveler and product experience data.

“There’s a big gap between personalization and actually being personal,” said Zoghby. In order for travel brands to provide highly personalized recommendations to their guests, they need to understand traveler preferences as much as the product. Both Chauvat and Zoghby agreed that there’s a lot of room for improvement here in the travel space. Companies often track what customers do, but struggle to understand why they do it. And this is exactly when enriched product experience data come into play, explained Chauvat.

As Zoghby explained, “Your customers are interacting with your brands all the time. The focus should for us should shift from the ‘what’ to the ‘why.’” He believes that the biggest opportunity in travel right now is the reinvention of the guest experience, as in the case of Carnival’s Ocean Medallion and Experience Genomics™ personalization technology.

Chauvat advised that businesses focus on the needs of the modern customers: “Today’s customers need to have knowledge convergence across multiple products and devices. A global knowledge of travel product experience data is critical for personalization at scale.”

Watch the full discussion below.

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information and conversation. In 2018, Skift will be analyzing travel trends around the globe with four Forums. Get the details now and register here.