How the leisure industry can unlock the power of AI

18 December 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is predicted to add £232 billion to the UK economy by 2030, and one industry set to benefit from what it offers is leisure. This was a topic I discussed at the recent BlooloopLIVE UK 2019 - an annual conference covering the latest developments in the leisure industry.

Unlimited possibilities...if done properly

The leisure industry already collects and stores vast quantities of customer data. AI gives them the ability to analyse it, understand more about each customer and in turn create more personalised experiences. Buying habits can be analysed and bespoke offers, suggestions and recommendations sent out.

For example, customers visiting a theme park could sign up for push notifications to their phones suggesting rides and restaurants based on what they’ve visited so far. Loyalty could be encouraged by offering personalised incentives such as queue jump tickets for a favourite or similar ride. Using data gathered during your stay, park operators could suggest a bespoke itinerary for a future trip and email it to you with a price reduction offer to entice you to visit again.

There remain some issues for this to become a reality however. Use of the technology is still in its infancy in the leisure industry. There is growing understanding of what it could mean, but a lack of financial investment compared to other industries such as financial services.

Most companies are still at the data gathering stage and working on getting that right. Algorithms will, by definition, learn from the data provided. So if poor data goes in, poor analysis will come out. The requirement to fix this can sound a huge task - but it’s one worth doing upfront to prevent issues emerging later.

Getting your AI implementation right

So how can those in the industry implement AI? We suggest the following as a good place to start:

- Ensure you understand what you want to achieve

AI has become a buzzword, with companies interested in the hype but not always understanding how much work needs to be done in the background to fully realise the benefits. Make sure your AI investment meets clear business objectives.

- Get the right talent in place

AI is a powerful technology - but still requires skilled, human workers to get the most out of it. Recruiting skilled workers is increasingly challenging for business leaders, so take a proactive approach to recruitment and ensure you’re offering challenging, fulfilling work.

- Act responsibly

AI offers a huge opportunity but must be used responsibly. Effective controls and governance need to be built into the design and implementation from day one, so AI’s positive potential is secured and customer data protected and used ethically.

- There’s no substitute for quality data

This can’t be emphasised enough. AI algorithms are of limited use without high-quality data to fuel them. Leisure businesses need to ensure the data they rely upon is robust and good enough - don’t consider spending money on implementation until you get this right.

To learn more about AI at PwC visit, pwc.co.uk/AI.

Euan Cameron

Euan Cameron | UK Artificial Intelligence Leader, PwC United Kingdom
Profile | Email | +44 (0)20 7804 3554

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