Sound Strategy: What is the future of AI in our visitor economy?

Sound Strategy: What is the future of AI in our visitor economy?

March 30th, 2023

Few modern topics can be as all-encompassing as the discussions around the future of artificial intelligence and its cousins in the machine learning and natural language processing worlds. 

To be sure, the potential impacts from these technologies are extraordinarily promising and yet the lack of clarity around their course also suggests concern.  

As it relates to our regional visitor and service economies, perhaps the most important market shift businesses are working to stay ahead of are the impacts–directly and indirectly–from the deployment of artificial intelligence at scale.  In other words, AI is here already and its capability is rapidly increasing.

While it’s tempting to think of AI as a national or even global debate, the contributions of AI are in many ways already impacting our lives locally to a remarkable degree. 

Whether it’s employers using technology on the cost side to automate processes in an amazingly tight labor market, businesses using data to engage more customers with more accuracy on the revenue side, consumers relying more and more on digital experiences, or even future planning around technology investment across sectors, how we use AI simply matters. 

In a service economy dependent on people, it matters even more as demographics suggest a dwindling labor pool in years to come.  Said differently, AI is creating increasing value in our lives today.

For example, AI company Aidaptive is using a wide array of data tools to personailize the digital experiences of some Outer Banks visitors as they decide about which vacation to take, when, and how the price of that vacation is developed. 

In short, there is a lot of technology behind the price of a visit.  In turn, that means that practitioners in the visitor economy are increasingly conversant with fields like data science and artificial intelligence–that’s a great thing as we all seek to grow our economic engines without adding more people in an incredibly tight labor market (which is in turn linked to many other areas topics like housing).  

All of that is to say that technology is–surprise–increasingly important to our operating businesses in the visitor economy. 

The future potential for things like ChatGPT and other platforms is fascinating and the vast potential for natural language processing (simply, our ability to talk to machines) is remarkably appealing to many of our employers.  

For many years, much of our visitor economy has been straightforward in its approach to hospitality–great visitor experiences in a great natural setting simply attract repeat and growing numbers of visitors all based on the quality of their experience delivered one person at a time. 

The future, in its tendency to become the present and sooner than we think, suggests that the importance of a digital experience will become of critical importance to us as a destination. 

In turn, the ability of our craft hospitality entrepreneurs to utilize technology, such as in the AI space, is differentiating the past from the future perhaps more so than anything else–except, of course, people. 

It’s all, in the words of Eric Clapton, in the way that we use it.

“Sound Strategy”, a weekly commentary from our publisher Clark Twiddy, features issues, ideas and information focused on our mission statement of “Covering the Business News of the Greater Outer Banks”.

Share this Article

Subscribe for Daily Updates

Invalid email address
Send this to a friend