Skift Take

Kayak is doing a lot of experiments with AI, not always in the most obvious ways.

Kayak has found multiple ways to use generative AI, and it’s not always how one may expect. 

Kayak chief scientist Matthias Keller discussed the metasearch engine’s recent AI projects on stage Tuesday at the Skift Data+AI Summit.

1. Productivity

Kayak is encouraging its employees to explore how generative AI helps them complete their work, Keller said.

“From the beginning, we made ChatGPT and other tools available to everyone, for everyone to find what works best for them.”

That could be as a translator or to help organize information, he said — but the point is that experimentation is happening, and it may lead to something more in the future.

“There is no single killer use-case yet, but it’s more like a lot of bread crumbs that are going to make a bread,” Keller said.

2. Integrations in ChatGPT and Copilot

Kayak was one of the first travel companies to develop a plugin for ChatGPT Plus, which allowed paid users to access specific flight information and links from Kayak. OpenAI discontinued the third-party plugin program in April and replaced it with GPTs, which are tailored versions of chatbots on ChatGPT — free for everyone as of last week.

Kayak has its own GPT, accessible under the Explore GPTS tab on the left panel of the ChatGPT homepage.

Kayak also has a connection with Microsoft Copilot. Bing search engine users can ask the Copilot chatbot for flight information and receive real-time information from Kayak.

3. Chatbot Tool

Keller also mentioned the new Ask Kayak tool, which is a reimagined travel search tool that the company is piloting.

Skift did a test of the product when it was released.

When it comes to trip planning, Ask Kayak doesn’t have real-time knowledge, only general information about travel destinations.

“And then you bring that together with our knowledge … and this then makes that that destination finder program based on generative AI.”

A primary use, as he highlighted, is that it helps the travelers ask for specific flights in simple language rather than having to sort through multiple filters.

“You may not want to work through these 20 different filters, and so now you can use the free text box,” he said.

4. Nonconventional Innovations

Kayak is also experimenting with consumer tools that aren’t a chatbot but still use generative AI to operate.

The company this year released a tool called PriceCheck. It can read flight fare information from a screenshot from another travel search platform, and then search for a better price.

Skift ran a test of the tool in March — and it seemed to work.

“It feels nothing like ChatGPT, but this is an innovation that would only be economic or doable — or basically buildable — with the help of generative AI.”

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Tags: artificial intelligence, booking holdings, kayak, online travel newsletter, SDAIS24, skiftlive, the prompt, very online

Photo credit: Pictured: Matthias Keller of Kayak, left, in discussion with Skift executive editor Dennis Schaal.

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