Skift Take

There are too many AI trip planning tools to choose from, but many will disappear as time goes on.

Series: Travel Tech Briefing

Travel Tech Briefing

Editor’s Note: Exclusive reporting on technology’s impact on the travel industry, delivered every Thursday. The briefing will guide executives as they decide if their companies should “build, buy, or partner” to stay ahead.

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Most of the big travel companies — Priceline, Tripadvisor, Booking.com, and more — have released AI trip planning tools on their websites. 

New companies keep popping up, as well, aiming for ways to capitalize on marrying generative AI and travel planning for consumers. Some started right away, like Tripnotes and Roam Around — which will have some updates to announce in the next several weeks. Others released their first products a little later, such as Roamefy and AI.Adventures.

And more coming out, all trying to make a name for themselves in an increasingly crowded market. 

  • One of the latest is Troupe, which has released a beta version of a mobile app that’s meant to help users find short-term rentals for group trips, powered with inventory from Vrbo and Expedia. Users can give open-ended prompts, such as, “A house for eight people in Newport, Rhode Island.” And the app responds with a list or interactable map of options that links to the associated booking website. The app is available now to those who have signed up for the waitlist. 
  • Another is GenixGPT, a new company that says its product can recommend travel destinations that are considered “hidden gems.” A beta version of the browser-based tool was released last month. Users can access the first eight searches for free, and then the company is charging a one-time fee of $4.95 for access. The process starts with a general prompt, and the tool asks a number of follow-up questions. 
  • Jet.AI has released an app called CharterGPT. Unlike the many general trip planners, this niche tool is meant to help users find and book the company’s stock of private jets. The user can ask for a plane to a certain destination, and the chatbot follows up with questions about specific airports for departure and arrival, dates, the number of passengers, and aircraft preferences. It then provides a list of potential bookings that match the requirements with prices, and the user can request a final quote and booking. Jet.AI went public last month through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company. The AI trip planning tool is part of software projects in development to make jet charters easier for managers and clients. 
CharterGPT is part of a push for easier private jet bookings.

Travel Tech Acquisitions 

There have been four mergers and acquisitions of travel tech companies in the past week. 

ArrivalGuides, which provides content to destination marketing organizations, has now been sold by its founders three times.

It has been acquired by travel marketing tech platform Smartvel, which was the company’s biggest competitor, for an undisclosed amount. It was sold by Lion Ventures, which is owned by Magnus Aideborn and Ola Zetterlöf. 

The partners founded ArrivalGuides in 2004 and then sold it to Yellow Pages in Sweden in 2007. It was sold back to the founders for $1 during the financial crisis in 2009, according to Zetterlöf. It was then acquired by Lonely Planet in 2019, and the founders acquired it back for $1 during the pandemic-related financial crisis in 2020, Zetterlöf said. 

He said ArrivalGuides suffered heavily during Covid, but it has grown close to where it was before the pandemic. It has more than 630 destination guides that are integrated into apps, social media, websites, and marketing initiatives of client travel brands. 

Now, the founders are focused on the other companies in their portfolio, including short-term rental platform StayNordic.

Some other recent acquisition deals:

  • KabuK Style, a Japan-based travel fintech company, has acquired Remly, a travel video social media company. The buyer operates a monthly subscription service that allows users to stay at accommodations around the world.
  • India-based online travel marketplaces TripCrafters and Holidify said they have merged, making Tripcrafters a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holidify that will continue operating as an independent brand.
  • Snowfall, a UK-based booking platform for travel sellers, has acquired UK-based AmigoGo, an app for planning and booking group travel.

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Tags: artificial intelligence, chatgpt, generative ai, mergers and acquisitions, online booking, online travel, skift, travel tech, Travel Tech Briefing, trip planning

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