The tit-for-tat in generative AI one-upmanship has begun with both Booking.com and Expedia having ChatGPT apps. This will go on for many years.
Booking.com is rolling out an AI Trip Planner to U.S. members of its Genius travel rewards program on its mobile app starting Wednesday, the company announced.
The company said the trip planner uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT as its foundation, as well as its own AI tools, rather than the rival Google Bard. That choice is somewhat surprising given Booking’s long relationship with Google, which counts Booking as one of its largest travel advertisers. On the other hand, critics have widely held Open AI’s ChatGPT in higher regard than Google Bard.
Like Booking rival Expedia’s ChatGPT feature, Booking said its own AI Trip Planner, which is in beta, will entertain questions from travelers about destinations and accommodations.
“Travelers can go back and forth between their chat with the AI Trip Planner and the Booking.com app interface as they consider options for their trip,” Booking’s announcement stated. “With just a tap on any accommodation they are interested in, they can complete the reservation, as the AI Trip Planner is directly integrated into the accommodation booking experience in the Booking.com app.”
We haven’t actually tried Booking’s AI Trip Planner yet, and tomorrow’s release will be in beta with a limited set of users initially. So it’s tough to do a comparison with Expedia’s ChatGPT-based virtual assistant.
Expedia’s chatbot doesn’t include pricing information or booking links. But travelers can save a chat, and they get redirected to the Expedia iOS app’s Trip’s feature, where they can begin the booking process.
“Our primary aim at Booking.com has always been to leverage technology to make travel easier,” said Glenn Fogel, CEO of parent company Booking Holdings and Booking.com. “The recent developments with generative AI are accelerating the work we’ve been doing for years with machine learning to enhance and improve every aspect of the customer experience on our platform, whether it’s optimizing the right order to display a hotel’s photos to surfacing the most relevant reviews. Our new AI Trip Planner is simply the next step in our ongoing journey to explore how we can bring even more value, and hopefully enjoyment, to the entire trip planning process.”
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Photo credit: A family on vacation in Florida. Source: Visit Florida