Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Online Travel

Booking.com to Test Guest ID Verification and Payment Alternatives for Foreign Purchases

3 months ago

Booking Holdings is hiring rapidly at its new engineering office in Bengaluru, India, to work on new projects such as how to verify guest identification with machine learning and new products such as alternative forms of international payment to traditional credit and debit cards.

The parent company of Booking.com has about 20 employees at its tech center now but expects to ramp that up to about 100 by year-end, according to The Times of India. The business unit will work on how to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to better manage risks and hassles in travel transactions.

The company wants to verify IDs such as passports and driving licenses by linking the company to sources of identification data and using artificial intelligence and machine learning to scan these and verify identities automatically.

That is one of the projects that the Bengaluru office will tackle, Daniel Marovitz, senior vice president of fintech at Booking.com, told The Times of India.

The team will also look at possibly building a “foreign exchange card” as an alternative form of payment to a traditional credit or debit card. Today, many credit and debit cards charge a different, higher foreign exchange rate than the lowest available on the market.

The planned Booking.com product would attempt to offer a cheaper alternative. The ambition is for customers to use the card, which will come in physical and digital forms, for routine purchases and not just for booking a hotel. It may eventually enable customers to take advantage of buy-now-pay-later and other insurance-like products that Booking Holdings might operate on its own as a financial technology player.

Both projects fit with Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel‘s vision for “a connected trip” that he laid out at Skift Global Forum in September (see video).

The news of the product testing and development dovetails with recent Skift Megatrends about the financialization of travel and how the rise of global mobile wallets are upending travel payments.

Travel Technology

Ad Software Company Clinch Expands Into Travel Industry Via Sojern Tie-Up

4 months ago

A company that helps advertisers streamline modern ad campaigns is moving further into the travel industry through a new partnership. 

Clinch, headquartered in New York City, said this week that it had started a “new relationship” with Nebraska-based Sojern

Clinch’s so-called “flight control” software suite is meant to help advertisers more easily build data-driven, personalized ad campaigns. 

Sojern is a travel-focused digital marketing platform that uses consumer data to help hospitality companies secure bookings. The company, founded in 2007, has driven more than $15 billion in bookings for thousands of partners, according to its website.

The companies say that the partnership allows Clinch users to access Sojern’s capabilities. 

“The ability to personalize and auto-optimize campaigns to match both environmental and user-based situations is paramount for this sector,” said Charel MacIntosh, head of business development and partnerships for Clinch, in a statement.  

Travel Technology

Faroe Islands’ National Gallery Becomes the First to Launch Artificial Intelligence Exhibit

4 months ago

The National Gallery of the Faroe Islands launched an exhibition this week containing 40 images of the archipelago developed by artificial intelligence program Midjourney, becoming the first national gallery to feature a fully produced show created by artificial intelligence. 

The exhibit, which runs from September 29 through October 30, reveals how prominent artists — such as Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso — might have depicted the landscape of the remote archipelago in the North Atlantic. Visitors to the national gallery will also have the opportunity to create their own images of the Faroe Islands using Midjourney.

“When I first heard of (artificial intelligence) and Midjourney and how it is possible to create new pictures just like individual artists might have done, it immediately intrigued me,” said Karina Lykke Grand, director of the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands.

“It was fascinating to see how by giving prompts, the system can get an idea of how an artist such as Van Gogh or Picasso might have painted the Faroe Islands.”

The exhibit exploring the Faroe Islands through the eyes of prominent artists (Courtesy Visit Faroe Islands)

Mergers and Acquisitions

TripAdd Acquires Chatbot Startup Eddy Travels to Boost User Recommendations

5 months ago

Eddy Travels, a digital travel assistant service founded by entrepreneur Edmundas Balcikonis, is being acquired by TripAdd, a New York-based travel product provider, a subsidiary of the Blue Ribbon Bags group, the world’s leading service for lost luggage tracking. TripAdd hopes to bolster revenues through personalized bundle recommendations for users.

Financial details of the deal, announced on Friday, were not disclosed. The companies only described it as a “multi-million dollar acquisition.”

Eddy Travels was founded in 2019 with the goal of bringing the world of travel to messaging apps, offering an artificial intelligence (AI) service that facilitates the process of travel for its customers. This includes planning flights, booking hotels, and searching for restaurants, amongst other things. The service is made possible by Eddy AI, a chatbot assistant, which uses so-called natural language processing (NLP) to help users find what they’re looking for.

Co-founder and CEO Balcikonis, is excited to join TripAdd for an optimized experience of the digital marketplace. “They are extremely business savvy, with amazing sales and marketing skills,” Balcikonis said about TripAdd, “which perfectly complement our technology and product development capabilities.”

Both parties expressed their excitement about the merger, looking to put their services together to maximize the travel experience for the customer.

Filters

Tags

artificial-intelligence

Clear Filters