Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Expedia’s AI chatbot, vacation competition for beaches, and Choice Hotels’ emissions reporting choices.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, April 5. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Expedia has released the first version of a ChatGPT-powered travel planning chatbot on its mobile app. It’s the first online travel agency outside of Asia to do so, writes Travel Technology Reporter Justin Dawes.

Dawes notes that Expedia users can now use the chatbot to help plan trips. Although the tool does not offer specific real-time information about details such as pricing and events yet, users can get help during travel planning by asking general questions about a destination. Dawes adds that although the chatbot doesn’t provide the next-generation planning and booking experience experts envision, the tool brings that vision closer to reality. 

Next, U.S. beach destinations saw a boom in visitor numbers during the pandemic. But they’re facing increased competition from large cities and overseas destinations that have re-emerged as popular options for travelers, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. 

Habtemariam reports that some beach destinations expect their tourism growth rates to slightly decrease in 2023, citing Panama City Beach, Florida as an example. He notes one reason is that Americans have become more comfortable with traveling abroad. In addition, big cities such as New York City are expecting a surge in visitor numbers this year.

Habtemariam notes beach destinations will emphasize to prospective visitors that they’re home to more than sun and sand. He cites Myrtle Beach as one example. The South Carolina city has been actively promoting its live music and culinary scenes the last two years. Meanwhile, officials in Panama City Beach said their decision to open its second large-scale outdoor sports park in 2019 has paid dividends.  

Finally, Choice Hotels has at last reported on its environmental performance. However, the company hasn’t provided information about emissions from its franchised hotels, the vast majority of its properties, reports Wouter Geerts, head of Skift Research.

Choice recently released its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance report, the first time it’s ever reported on its environmental and social efforts in depth. While the report contains some emissions data, Geerts notes that it offered no insight into its scope 3 emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are divided into three scopes, and scope 3 includes emissions from franchised hotels.

Choice CEO Patrick Pacious wrote in the report that the company is working to implement a dashboard that would enable it to track its scope 3 emissions. Choice has more than 7,000 franchised properties in its portfolio. 


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Tags: chatbots, choice hotels, expedia, skift podcast, tourism

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