Expedia, the renowned online travel provider, has joined the AI chatbot ChatGPT as a virtual travel consultant. Through the Expedia app, tourists can converse with this sophisticated chatbot. Although it won’t reserve flights or lodgings for them like an actual travel agent, it can answer other traveling-related queries.
Are you curious about the weather at your travel destination? Will you need to rent a car, or will public transportation suffice? Do you want to know if there are flights between certain locations on your itinerary, and when is the best time to get a great deal? Are you wondering what items to include in your suitcase? Expedia’s ChatGPT feature has got you covered.
And it’s not just one-word or one-sentence answers. It provides explanations and options.
When news.com.au inquired about the most suitable items to bring for a trip to Auckland, New Zealand, in June, Expedia Group’s chatbot provided an answer outlining the type of weather that could be expected as well as eight appropriate items to bring along, such as comfortable shoes due to its “walkable city” nature.
When discussing how to view the Great Barrier Reef optimally, ChatGPT suggested four options that could fit any preference and budget; it then reminded users to pack light, only bringing what is necessary to avoid additional baggage fees and make the trip more pleasant.
When selecting a tour operator, it is essential to ensure they adhere to sustainable tourism principles to safeguard the coral reef. This has been emphasized by OpenAI, who released ChatGPT in December 2019 and encountered both positive and negative feedback surrounding its safety and accuracy.
Italy took the lead in the West this month by banning ChatGPT due to privacy worries. In response, OpenAI released a blog post outlining its safety strategy regarding the company.
In 2015, Elon Musk co-founded OpenAI but had to step down from its board in 2018 due to a potential clash of interests with Tesla AI. When the organization was created, he remarked that ChatGPT was “unnervingly proficient.”
Expedia and OpenAI ChatGPT are currently in the beta testing phase. Although they have taken steps to reduce potential errors or inappropriate responses, Expedia has cautioned that the system’s performance may not always be perfect.
The company said it would use feedback from employees and users to ensure responses meet its standards. When using Expedia’s ChatGPT feature, hotels discussed in the conversation are automatically saved to a “trip” section in the app so the user can access further details and book.
Expedia Group chief executive Peter Kern says:
“Every great trip can be made or lost while planning and shopping. As the leader in travel tech, Expedia continues to build out the core operating system for the industry, constantly enhancing capabilities and making trip planning faster, simpler and even more informative,”
“By integrating ChatGPT into the Expedia app and combining it with our other AI-based shopping capabilities, like hotel comparison, price tracking for flights and trip collaboration tools, we can now offer travellers an even more intuitive way to build their perfect trip.”
Kern told the Economic Times that AI was not meant to take away people’s jobs.
Kern continues to say:
“We’re not treating AI as a tool to drive efficiency. We just think that’s a means to scale more efficiently and to get better outcomes for the consumer,”
“We don’t come at it from the you know, how can we make it cheaper to execute – we want to make the experience great so that consumers stay with us, come back, shop again. So that’s really our goal.”
Expedia’s use of ChatGPT as a travel adviser highlights the growing role of AI in the travel industry and its potential to enhance customer experiences. With its ability to provide personalized recommendations and assistance, ChatGPT offers a promising tool for travelers to plan their trips more efficiently.
However, it’s crucial to balance the benefits of AI with ethical considerations and human expertise to ensure that travelers receive the best possible assistance while safeguarding their privacy and interests. Expedia’s adoption of ChatGPT is an important step in this direction. It will be interesting to see how AI continues to shape the industry’s future of travel planning and customer service.
Source: NZ Herald