AI’s transformative potential in travel planning is undeniable, but knowing how to harness its capabilities is key. The advent of accessible AI systems like ChatGPT has forever changed the landscape of travel.
With AI, planning has been simplified, new experiences are easily discoverable, and the booking process has been streamlined. Instead of spending countless hours on research, users can now engage in a quick conversation with AI and achieve similar results.
While AI excels in several travel functions such as idea generation, highlighting local businesses, and language translation, there are important tips to maximize its usage, particularly when it comes to travel.
To make the most of AI for travel, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Optimal Uses of AI for Travel:
AI is most beneficial during the planning and purchasing phase. It solves the overwhelming task of researching multiple options and presents a solution. Rathi Murthy, the CTO of Expedia Group, explains that AI in travel resolves this dilemma.
Many AI platforms, including ChatGPT, provide free access via a web browser or iOS app (Android app coming soon). ChatGPT generates suggestions based on your requests using knowledge available up until September 2021. Users can upgrade to GPT-4 for $20 per month, which offers additional features like web plug-ins, real-time information, and live pricing and weather searches.
Coordinating Multiple Flights and Recommendations:
AI excels at coordinating multiple flights based on specific parameters like timing and pricing. For example, GPT-4 can find multiple flights under $1,500 for a group of five people departing from different cities in the U.S. and heading to Amsterdam in August. AI simplifies the research process by synchronizing budgets, itineraries, and searching for the best deals across various platforms.
However, it’s important to cross-check AI’s answers and verify pricing on booking sites. Experts recommend using AI as a starting point or rough outline rather than relying solely on it.
Once you’ve selected your destination, AI can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific interests. Whether you’re seeking the best speakeasies in an area or crafting a five-day itinerary of off-the-beaten-path museums, events, or tours, AI can assist. It can even suggest dining reservations or provide ticketed event prices.
AI’s advantage lies in its ability to gather information from diverse sources and deliver it conversationally, unlike platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Google.
Crafting Effective Prompts:
To create useful prompts, ask questions in your native language, paying attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Specificity is key: include details about your travel group, dietary restrictions, interests, and priorities. The more information you provide, the better the output from AI.
Additionally, providing feedback to AI is essential for accuracy. AI learns from these exchanges, enhancing its ability to provide relevant and precise information.
Limitations of AI:
AI currently achieves around 70-80% accuracy in gathering general information, equivalent to a C grade. It’s limited by the data it has access to. Free platforms like ChatGPT have a knowledge cutoff at September 2021 and may not have up-to-date information on closures, changes in business names, or shifts in focus.
AI also faces challenges when dealing with name changes or alternative names for cities. For example, Bangalore is referred to as Bengaluru since 2014 at Kayak.
In some cases, AI may “hallucinate” or fabricate false facts, especially for smaller towns or remote locations. It’s advisable to double-check AI’s answers in such instances.
Recommended AI Sources for Travel:
Many travel platforms are built on OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Tripnotes.ai, roamaround.ai, and curioso.com offer user-friendly interfaces integrated with ChatGPT, providing interactive travel planning features like maps and pre-planned road trip routes. ChatGPT Plus offers access to plug-ins such as Kayak, Expedia, Trip, and OpenTable for comprehensive travel planning.
GuideGeek, on the other hand, employs messaging platforms like WhatsApp to provide tailored suggestions for places and activities based on user input. However, it requires network connectivity and may experience delays during peak traffic.
As AI rapidly evolves, startups and companies continue to explore innovative ways to leverage its power, ensuring more accurate and natural language delivery of information. AI’s influence on travel will continue to evolve, revolutionizing how we plan, research, book, and experience travel.
While the long-term impact of AI on travel remains uncertain, it holds tremendous potential to reshape the industry, as Ross Borden from Matador Network suggests. AI has the capacity to usher travel into an unprecedented renaissance by revolutionizing every aspect, from planning and research to booking and experiencing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AI travel planning
What can AI do for travel planning?
AI can greatly simplify travel planning by generating personalized recommendations, coordinating multiple flights based on specific parameters like timing and pricing, and streamlining the booking process. It can save you time and effort by providing quick and relevant information.
How accurate is AI in gathering travel information?
AI can collect general information with an accuracy rate of around 70-80%, which is equivalent to a C grade. However, it’s important to note that the accuracy is limited by the data it has access to. It may not have real-time updates on closures, name changes, or shifts in focus for businesses, so it’s advisable to double-check information from other sources.
Can AI help with finding specific interests and activities?
Yes, AI is skilled at responding to specific interests and can provide tailored recommendations. Whether you’re looking for hidden speakeasies, designing a unique itinerary, or searching for dining reservations and ticketed events, AI can assist in finding relevant information based on your preferences.
How should I create a useful travel prompt for AI?
To create an effective prompt, ask questions in your native language and provide specific details about your travel group, interests, dietary restrictions, and priorities. The more information you can give, the better the output from AI. Additionally, providing feedback to AI when it misunderstands your request can help improve its accuracy in future interactions.
What are some limitations of AI in travel planning?
AI has limitations, such as its reliance on outdated data and potential inaccuracies when dealing with small towns or remote locations. It may “hallucinate” or provide false information in such cases. Additionally, AI platforms like ChatGPT may not have access to live information or web searches. It’s important to cross-check AI’s answers against other sources and use it as a starting point rather than relying solely on it.