Skift Travel News Blog

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

Online Travel

Tripadvisor Says Its AI Itinerary Users Generate 3X Revenues of Average Users

7 months ago

Hidden in Tripadvisor’s latest earnings from earlier this week was some updates on its AI-based trip planning feature that it launched in July, along with some concrete numbers on performance of AI-assisted travel planning.

In the earnings call, CEO Matt Goldberg said that the company has seen much higher conversions (and revenues) from people who use their Generative AI trip planning tool.

From the earnings call transcript, this extract below has all the details of Tripadvisor’s early experiments with public AI tools, use in creating content, summarize reviews and for customer service, I have highlighted the important parts and metrics in bold.

“At our last call, we mentioned the promising early feedback from a significant upgrade to trips our core trip planning and itinerary product including a new generative AI powered itinerary feature. We’re still early in the journey and are iterating continuously, but we’re seeing compelling results. During the first three months in beta, members who created itineraries returned at a much higher rate within the first seven days than members who hadn’t created an itinerary and we’ve observed that higher return rate continuing for the full month thereafter as well. Importantly, members who build an itinerary also generate on average three times higher revenue than the average Tripadvisor member and the average member already monetizes at approximately 10 times the rate of non-members. We believe the initial data is a good indication of early product market fit and we’re on a plan to launch this full trip planning and itinerary product on our mobile app, on iOS and Android this quarter.

Another stated priority is to drive deeper engagement with travelers leveraging our unique content and data at scale. We continue to deliver progress in Q3, let me share two examples. First, we’ve been leveraging generative AI and machine learning tools to bring together guidance from our community and our editorial team on a set of our most popular destination pages, think New York City, Paris, and so on. Curating fresh, relevant content on these pages is driving over 15% more saves so travelers are engaging more frequently by adding a desired hotel, restaurant, or experience they discovered through our product to the trip they’re planning. Second, we recently rolled out a test across tens of thousands of hotels that uses Gen AI to summarize reviews and deliver clear insights to travelers on key quality attributes as they consider their choices.

Let me give an example, for me the single most important factor in booking a hotel is that I can get a quiet night sleep. We’re now leveraging our data to provide a clear signal about the noise level of a particular hotel, along with other critical qualities we know are important to travelers like atmosphere, service, value, and more. Gen AI provides the perfect way to summarize content at scale, trust is still at the center of why people come to us, so in this feature we share the specific underlying reviews from our community of travelers that were used to generate each insight and provide a direct path to go deeper on what matters most to the traveler. These examples are just a few of the many encouraging proof points that our teams are driving, which gives us conviction in our strategic direction, prioritization, and sequencing. But we know this only matters if it translates the financial impact over time, and we’re also pleased with the leading indicators we’re getting on monetization.

I mentioned before the significantly higher revenue we see among users who create a trip. As these users build an itinerary and engage more deeply they’re exposed to monetizable hotel and experience recommendations to relevant ads from our partners, all of which were increasingly integrating directly into this user journey. And the refreshed content on our destination pages is a perfect point in the journey to surface these options to a traveler. We’ve already observed double-digit increases in experiences revenue on the pages with these content enhancements and we are just beginning to scale.”

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?

Online Travel

Tripadvisor CEO Steve Kaufer Officially Steps Down and Looks Forward to Next Chapter

2 years ago

Tripadvisor co-founder Steve Kaufer has stepped down as CEO after 22 years, as expected, and Matt Goldberg took over.

Tripadvisor co-founder and CEO Steve Kaufer. Tripadvisor

In a Twitter post Friday, Kaufer offered “some parting thoughts” and said he welcomed any ideas on a new gig that would be “disruptive, challenging and impactful.”

Kaufer and Tripadvisor had a deep impact on how travel is planned and purchased as user-generated content became a staple, and all of the major brands, from online travel agencies to hotels and airlines, followed that path. Tripadvisor signage and plaudits took their place in restaurant and hotel storefronts, and lobbies around the world.

In this post from November, when Tripadvisor began a search for Kaufer’s successor, we touched on some of Kaufer’s big wins and failures.

Beyond profits and revenue marks, Kaufer will known as one of a handful of executives in the travel industry to speak out against former President Donald Trump’s Muslim bans, and anti-immigrant policies.

Whether it is as an angel investor or leading another company, be it a startup or something more established, the business world certainly will hear again from the guy who helped create, from the perch of a Massachusetts pizzeria, what would become a household-name brand, Tripadvisor.


Give Up Travel Because of Inflation? Gen Z in UK Is Undeterred

2 years ago

Despite inflation taking a chunk out of family spending power in the UK, only 8 percent of Gen Z respondents in a survey said they would give up vacation plans to cut costs.

But the Advertising Week Europe survey, conducted by Lucid, found a generational divide on the issue. Boomers — people age 68-77 — were the most likely (27 percent) to give up on their holiday dreams because of inflation, which saw the Consumer Prices Index jump 9 percent year over year in April.

“Fewer than half (46 percent) said they would cut back on travel and holidays, indicating cancelling trips already delayed by the pandemic is out of the question for many,” Advertising Week Europe said.

The survey also uncovered regional differences on the issue within the UK. For example, survey respondents in England’s southwest, which includes places like Bristol, were the least likely (9 percent) to quash travel plans because of inflation.

However, survey respondents in England’s east, including London, as well as people in Northern Ireland, were the most ready (23 percent) to cancel their vacation plans.

Meanwhile, plenty of U.S. residents plan to get into their cars or take flights over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

The Vacationer found that 60 percent of U.S. adults plan to travel during Memorial Day weekend, up from 27 percent a year ago.