Iis Tussyadiah

on intelligent things and human experiences 

Annals' Curated Collection on AI & Robotics 

This was written for University of Surrey PR on 31 March 2020, but never published due to COVID-19 disruption. 

The Annals of Tourism Research Curated Collection on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics in Tourism was launched in March 2020. Curated by Professor Iis Tussyadiah of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, the Collection contains past articles on AI, robotics, and automation published in Annals of Tourism Research, a top-ranked journal in the field, and will continue to grow as relevant new articles are added.

In a review article accompanying the launch of the Collection, Professor Tussyadiah discusses the need to prepare the travel and tourism industry for a more automated future and proposes four priorities for further research in the area: designing beneficial AI, facilitating adoption of intelligent automation in the sector, fully assessing the impacts of intelligent automation, and creating a sustainable future with AI.

The Collection features a two-stage study on trust as a factor of consumer acceptance of service robots in travel and tourism. In collaboration with researchers from Virginia Tech, USA and Shanghai Maritime University, China, Professor Tussyadiah examines what makes consumers trust service robots using two use cases: on-demand self-driving taxi (transportation) and robotic bartender (hospitality). The study shows how negative sentiments around AI permeating society cast a negative influence on consumer acceptance of novel technologies in travel and hospitality sectors. Language used in communication about technological innovation plays a significant role in shaping consumer perception, trust, and acceptance of AI and robots. Interestingly, the form of robot, be it humanoid or robotic arm, does not seem to matter when it comes to trustworthiness.

Another study in the Collection, conducted in collaboration with Professor Graham Miller, explores how hotels can use robots to nudge tourists to be more responsible. The study tests whether guests will respond differently to an in-room companion robot versus a pervasive virtual assistant, like Alexa, programmed to give feedback on water and energy consumption. They find that the presence of another agent in the room, even when invisible, is enough to induce normative behaviour. This shows how emerging technologies can be leveraged to foster sustainability.

Regarding the Collection, Professor Tussyadiah says: “My vision is for the Collection to encourage further research and facilitate a systematic knowledge production that reflects a concerted effort from the scientific community to ensuring beneficial applications of AI and robotics in travel and tourism.”

Professor David Sampson, Vice-Provost, Research and Innovation, says: “This initiative continues the leadership shown by Surrey in hospitality and tourism over many decades. As our world undergoes its latest transformation to online information sources and applied artificial intelligence, hospitality and tourism stands to benefit by early adoption of these new methods and applications. Guidance through the maze of new knowledge sorted by quality, subject area and relevance is invaluable and requires the acumen and deftness of a true expert – congratulations to Professor Tussyadiah on her invaluable project.”

For updates on the Collection, follow the hashtag #ANNALSai on Twitter and other social media channels.

Featured articles:

  • Tussyadiah, I. (2020). A review of research into automation in tourism: Launching the Annals of Tourism Research Curated Collection on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Tourism. Annals of Tourism Research. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2020.102883
  • Tussyadiah, I.P., Zach, F.J., Wang, J. (2020). Do travelers trust intelligent service robots? Annals of Tourism Research. DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2020.102886