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A lot of generative AI-based travel planning and booking tools are coming out. Which ones will last?

Series: Travel Tech Briefing

Travel Tech Briefing

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When OpenAI released ChatGPT last November, there were a few companies that released tools right away or even shared plans to do so.  

Then, there were some more. 

Now, there are so many companies releasing tools and talking about plans that it’s becoming hard to keep up. 

In the early days, a simple experimental integration of ChatGPT with a mapping tool was enough to spark interest to publish a news article. It’s only been about six months, and the landscape has changed drastically. Now, not every new tool gets its own story – there’s not enough time in the day. 

Multiple large publicly traded travel companies — Airbnb, Uber, and more — have shared how they believe generative AI will change the way their businesses operate externally and internally. Another of them, vacation rental listing platform HomeToGo, is planning to release an AI tool soon meant to help users book accommodation based on specific preferences. 

As far as booking tools go, most companies have a similar goal in mind: a virtual travel agent that can make recommendations and complete bookings based on highly personalized preferences that the customer provides. 

The question that remains is how the many small companies — with limited data and resources — will be able to compete with the large companies that have unfathomable swaths of data and billions of dollars in revenue. Kudos to the ones who jumped on ideas right away because sometimes being first is important. But there’s no way around it — like social media platforms or past travel apps, few will succeed, and many will fail. 

Skift has already covered multiple AI-powered booking tools in the works: Tripnotes, GuideGeek and Roam Around, Priceline, eDreams Odigeo, multiple online travel agency activities, and more.

Here a just few more that have been released or announced recently:

  • Travel Compositor, a booking platform for travel sellers, is releasing an AI-powered planning and booking engine for use by its clients. Called AI Trips, the company said the platform will able users to book an entire trip — including flights, hotel, car rentals, and in-destination ticketed experiences — starting with a simple prompt. 
  • Roamefy, formerly theDIYtrip, an AI based travel-tech startup app meant to help users plan and book travel.
  • AI.Adventures, a website that uses tech from ChatGPT, said it help users with personalized travel planning and itinerary generation. 
  • Iplan.ai is a mobile app that allows users to generate and save multiple itineraries based on location, number of days, and the number of travelers. Itineraries includes photos, maps, and links. 

There are surely more to come. And they’re continuing to get better and better. 

The platforms that succeed will likely need to solve a unique problem or create a recognizable brand. Not every company can “revolutionize” the way travel planning and booking has been done, as many claim they’re in the process of doing. The experts agree that it will change — but exactly who will be behind it is yet to be seen.

Give me a timeline of generative AI as it relates to travel planning and booking.
Generative AI has been making significant strides in the travel industry over the past several months. Here is a rough timeline of its impact on travel planning and booking:

– April 2023: Skift published an article titled “Generative AI’s Impact on Travel,” highlighting the potential of generative AI to elevate the traveler experience throughout the customer lifecycle, from search and planning to the travel experience itself.

– May 2023: Google announced several features powered by generative AI relevant to the travel sector during its annual developer conference, Google I/O. These features included an update to Google Search with generative AI from Bard, which allowed for more detailed search prompts and integrated results for travel queries.

– May 2023: An article titled “Unleashing AI: The Potential for Hospitality Brands” discussed the implications of AI tools like Chat GPT for the travel agent space and how brands can build direct booking relationships with self-directed millennial and Gen Z travelers using AI.

– June 2023: In an article titled “Travel CEOs Talk Artificial Intelligence,” prominent travel industry executives, including Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and Despegar CEO Damian Scokin, shared their plans for generative AI in areas such as software development and customer service.

– June 2023: Another article titled “The AI Travel Booking Tools Keep Coming. Not All Will Succeed.” featured AI travel booking tools like AI.Adventures and Iplan.ai, which use generative AI for personalized travel planning and itinerary generation.

– June 2023: Large publicly traded travel companies, such as Airbnb, Uber, and HomeToGo, shared their plans for generative AI in their businesses, with HomeToGo planning to release an AI tool to help users book accommodations based on specific preferences.

As generative AI continues to advance, more travel companies are likely to adopt and integrate this technology to improve various aspects of travel planning and booking. While the timeline above provides a rough overview of generative AI’s impact on the travel industry, it’s important to note that the technology is still evolving, and its full potential in travel planning and booking has yet to be realized.

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Tags: artificial intelligence, chatgpt, generative ai, Skift Pro Columns, software, startups, the prompt, travel booking, travel planning, travel tech, Travel Tech Briefing, travel technology

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