Skift Travel News Blog

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

Ideas

IDEAS: Omio Launches ChatGPT Plugin, Allowing Search and Comparison of Global Travel Options

7 months ago

Travel booking app Omio has announced the launch of its plugin for ChatGPT, which has been designed to enable users to discover the best way to travel in real-time, using data from Omio’s inventory of bookable tickets and the power of OpenAI’s technology.

According to a release from the platform, this is the first plugin of its kind by a ground transportation provider, allowing users to search and compare travel across trains, buses, flights and ferries.

Credit: Omio

“In the past two years, our tech team has developed the Omio API extensively, and we are thrilled to be able to apply it within the OpenAI world, bringing a further innovation in the travel technology sector. Users of ChatGPT now have access to Omio’s inventory of over 1000 transport providers, and can ask ChatGPT questions they would have historically asked a travel agent about their travel arrangements. We are proud to digitalise the industry,” said Tomas Vocetka, chief technology officer at Omio.

“Our vision as a company is to empower billions of people to travel anywhere at any time, and the launch of the Omio plugin for ChatGPT acts as a bold step in achieving this. We are giving new consumers globally the opportunity to search for, compare and book travel on their terms. Consumer-centric innovation is at the heart of all our decision-making, and we are excited for travellers to be able to ask ChatGPT for the fastest trip by train or for the cheapest way they can travel with their family in peak season, knowing that they will get quality results from the Omio platform,” Vocetka continued.

The Omio plugin is available in the ChatGPT plugin store now.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Travel Technology

Google Releases Bard, the Generative AI Rival to ChatGPT

12 months ago

Google is starting to release the chatbot Bard, its rival to ChatGPT.

Google made the announcement Tuesday morning in a blog post. Users in the U.S. and the U.K. can join a waitlist for access. The platform will be expanded to other countries and languages later. 

Both platforms are powered by generative AI, a model that enables the technology to provide new, original answers in response to a prompt. The technology has big implications for the travel industry, starting with travel planning and marketing. Booking platforms, like Booking.com and Expedia, are among other travel companies exploring how the technology can be used to power the future of travel planning and booking. 

The blog described Bard as “an experiment,” and the next step in the process is to gather user feedback. 

According to the post, the chatbot appears to operate similarly to ChatGPT, except that it responds to prompts with more than one answer. Bard is connected to Google search, so users can search for items suggested by Bard if they choose. Google also said that Bard gathers current data from the internet to power its answers, while ChatGPT is limited to data from 2021. 

The post said the company will be integrating the tech into the search platform in a deeper way in the future. 

Google last week said that it was opening access to its generative AI tech to developers so they may integrate it into their own platforms. 

The underlying technology of ChatGPT has been open to developers since the chatbot was released in November.

Online Travel

AI Wars Comes For Travel Planning, As Bing Relaunches Around ChatGPT

1 year ago

The Microsoft-owned also-ran search engine Bing has relaunched around conversational chatbot technology powered by ChatGPT, the new sensation owned by OpenAI. In an event today, the CEOs of Microsoft and OpenAI gave a demo of the new Bing, and it will be open to all in coming days. The refreshed Bing provides a chatbox with annotated AI answers — powered by ChatGPT– to the right side of traditional search results. 

The conversational chatbot will, among other types of queries, great simplify how people could search for travel planning on search engines, as this example on the right shows, where the question was: “I am planning a trip for our anniversary in September. What are some places we can go that are within a 3 hour flight from London Heathrow?”

The difference between current version of ChatGPT and this Bing version of it is annotations to the sources, and suggestions on further queries to add to the original one.

These type of instant answers to queries has tons of implications for the travel sector, as we have been exploring on Skift in detail in the last couple of months.

Another fascinating battle to watch: will this conversational chatbot query come to the traditional online booking players (OTAs and even brands’ own digital channels) and what will it to do the travel booking process?

Travel Technology

Software Developer Makes AI Travel Itinerary Tool

1 year ago

During her Christmas holiday, a software developer created a tool to generate and map travel itineraries using generative artificial intelligence (AI). 

The Australia-based developer, Katrin Schmid, posted on Linkedin about the tool she made, called Journeai. It is powered by the generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT, released last year by OpenAi, a San Francisco-based AI research lab that has gotten at least $2 billion in investment.  

This new subset of AI can generate a new, unique product based on specific rules it’s given, a big leap ahead of the limited way AI has historically used existing datasets to draw conclusions and make predictions. 

OpenAi’s ChatGPT can already create a personalized travel itinerary within seconds. The Journeai tool uses that capability and adds the interactive mapping component through Google Maps — showing how easy it can be to solve a notable issue with generative AI, which is the lack of details like time, date, and geolocation. 

Despite the bugs with generative AI that users continue to point out, this is an early example of how the technology is expected to shake up the travel industry, starting with travel marketing, travel agents, and tour operators. 

There is more to come. 

“By the end of the year, you won’t be able to tell the difference between human production and AI production,” said travel industry consultant Peter Syme in a recent interview with Skift

“Every single tourism business, from a hotel to a tour operator to the most prominent companies, has access to the same power from a content production point of view. Therefore, tour operators should adopt quickly and not lag to ensure the biggest advantage.”