Travel\Popular destinations

Tailored travel

By Xu Lin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-04 07:53
Tailored travel

A Chinese tourist meets Japanese tattoo artist Yoshihito Nakano through a customized tour offered by Ctrip. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Most customers travel only once or twice a year.

Market competition is fierce. So, companies like his pay for expensive search-engine ads.

Beijing-based Uniqueway offers bespoke overseas tours for independent travelers, especially young clients.

Customers receive customized guidebooks with all the information they need for independent travel, including restaurant recommendations, local customs and safety tips. A digital copy helps them navigate roads.

Online and telephone customer service is available 24/7.

The company has worked with Tsinghua University's artificial intelligence team to use AI technology to design bespoke itineraries based on big data from about 180,000 customers.

"AI designed about three-quarters of our orders this year," the travel agency's cofounder Lei Tao says.

"That's because many customers' demands are similar and can be found in our database. It improves efficiency. So we can accommodate more orders."

He likens it to a self-service shop.

"Travelers can browse our products online and put forward their needs and expectations, and our system will automatically design an itinerary for them. Our staff will help with unique demands. Or, they can simply visit our offices for consultation in about a dozen Chinese cities."

He says the company had to "educate customers" when it was founded five years ago.

"But more Chinese are accepting the idea. We're also opening up markets in second- and third-tier cities."

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