Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at July Fourth travel, Priceline’s AI chatbot, and short-term rental demand.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, June 29. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Inflation is still a major concern for many American travelers, but rising prices aren’t putting a dent in travel demand. More than 50 million Americans are expected to travel for this year’s Fourth of July, reports Associate Editor Rashaad Jorden. 

Travel organization AAA projects the number of Americans traveling for this year’s holiday will surpass the record set in 2019. A AAA executive said consumers are still looking to travel in large numbers despite concerns about inflation. Roughly 64% of respondents to a survey by travel news site The Vacationer said surging prices were affecting their travel planes.

Jorden notes the U.S. airline industry is also optimistic about a banner Fourth of July weekend. The TSA projects more than 17 million travelers will fly for the holiday. In addition, the agency anticipates setting a single-day record for screenings on June 30. 

Next, Priceline has become the latest online travel agency to enter the world of artificial intelligence. The company has released an AI-powered platform as well as an AI chatbot, writes Reporter Jess Wade. 

Wade writes Priceline’s new AI platform Trip Intelligence provides travelers a list of personalized hotel recommendations and enhanced payment security among other features. Meanwhile, Priceline’s AI chatbot — named Penny — can be used as a local guide, help desk contact and 24/7 concierge. The company added that Penny can complete bookings within the chatbot interface. 

Priceline’s announcement came shortly after Booking.com unveiled an AI-powered trip planner as part of its Genius travel rewards program.

We end today with a look at the occupancy levels for short-term rentals. Are they up or down? Short-Term Rentals Reporter Srividya Kalyanaraman writes the answer depends on what data you’re looking at

Short-term rental firm platform Beyond reported that occupancy levels for this July were roughly 5 percentage points under the figure from the same month last year. However, short-term rental data provider AirDNA found occupancy levels were a little more than 5 percentage points above 2019 levels in May of this year. The company also said demand for short-rentals increased roughly 12 percentage points in May 2023 from the same month a year ago. 

Kalyanaraman writes there are several reasons for the discrepancies, including base-year comparisons and seasonal changes. 

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Tags: aaa, holiday travel, priceline, short-term rentals, skift podcast

Photo credit: Tourists on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, United States. Dimitry Anikin / Unsplash

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