Matthew Rosenberg is not waiting around for generative AI to push him out of a job. He is attempting to do what the rest of the industry should be doing as well — leveraging new tech to build something for the future.
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Matthew Rosenberg sees the writing on the wall with generative artificial intelligence in travel. That is why his company has refocused to developing the next iteration of its travel guide app, this time powered by the new type of AI.
“It’s 100 percent our focus right now,” said Matthew Rosenberg, co-founder of Welcome.
“At least for those of us who come from tech, and from consumer tech, it’s very obvious that this is going to be the way that a lot of things move, but especially things in travel.”
Welcome is an app that travelers can use to find and map the best businesses to visit around them.
Rosenberg’s new project, Tripnotes, leverages the hundreds of millions of data points his company has compiled over years. Building on top of the ChatGPT generative AI software, he said the Tripnotes platform can tap into that wealth of data to present an itinerary along with a full picture of real-time info: business names, hours, location, Google and Yelp reviews, photos, and more.
Tripnotes can respond to an original user question, or it can build an itinerary with information extracted from an email, travel article, social media video, or some other content, he said. It can take into account attributes like weather and make adjustments accordingly. Ultimately, he wants the platform to complete bookings for users in addition to providing recommendations. .
ChatGPT — the basis of the itinerary development that Tripnotes is using — is a generative AI chatbot released last year by OpenAi, a San Francisco-based AI research lab that has gotten at least $2 billion in investment. Microsoft in late January announced a multiyear, multibillion dollar investment into OpenAI, the third phase of a long-term partnership meant to accelerate AI breakthroughs.
As it exists, ChatGPT can make an itinerary on demand, but it’s based on data from 2021, and it is missing important information like hours and location, meaning the user would then have to do work to fill in the gaps.
“All of that rich data that makes it smart is proprietary to us,” he said. Before Welcome, Rosenberg was the CEO and co-founder of Cameo, which was acquired by Vimeo in 2014.
Tripnotes is in beta testing right now, an early example of how generative AI is expected to affect the travel industry, starting with travel marketing, travel agents, and tour operators. Tourism experts are telling the industry to prepare.
If public response is any indication, Tripnotes already has a market ready and waiting. Rosenberg got a lot of attention on Linkedin recently for a post he shared showing a demo of the product. He tweeted a similar message, and it was retweeted with praise by Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley.
Dig this. I keep telling people working on city guide startups: “You can’t just ‘Make a better version of Yelp’, you have to reinvent the whole category of local search”— Dennis Crowley 🇺🇸 (@dens) January 31, 2023
(Foursquare Labs R&D took a swing w/ Marsbot SMS & Marsbot for Airpods, but both projects are now dead 🤷🏻♂️) https://t.co/P2WP3zoq90
Rosenberg has been ready to build upon the technology of his existing company, Welcome, since its primary offering is the mapping capability — and the mapping has been done.
“And it’s hard to beat Google Maps. They do that better than anyone,” Rosenberg said.
Now, he said he has the tool he has been waiting for.
“The vision that we always had is finally catching up with the technology that we can leverage,” he said. “What we were able to do in that demo is something that two years ago, I would call it more hypothetical or abstract or even academic. But today, because of the tools, we’re actually able to do it.”
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