Booking has launched an AI trip planner, partially powered by large language model (LLM) technology from OpenAI’s ChatGPT API. Launched as a beta version in the United States on 28 June, the tool is built on Booking’s existing machine learning models that recommend destination and accommodation options to millions of travellers on the platform every day, while the use of OpenAI technology aims to create a new conversational experience for people to start their trip planning process.
Travellers can ask the AI Trip Planner general travel-related questions, as well as more specific queries to support any stage of their trip planning process, including scoping out potential destinations and accommodation options, providing travel inspiration based on the individual traveller’s needs and requirements, as well as creating itineraries for a particular city, country or region.
Our new AI Trip Planner is simply the next step in our ongoing journey to explore how we can bring even more value, and hopefully enjoyment, to the entire trip planning process.Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking.com
Travellers can easily chat with the pilot AI Trip Planner to describe what they’re looking for in broad or specific terms, ask questions and refine their search in real time, with new options surfaced in just a matter of seconds. From looking for inspiration on romantic beach destination options in the Caribbean to zeroing in on a specific list of vacation homes for a family of four, with air conditioning and a pool, the AI Trip Planner makes recommendations in a quick, conversational way.
“Our primary aim at Booking.com has always been to leverage technology to make travel easier”, said Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking.com. “The recent developments with generative AI are accelerating the work we’ve been doing for years with machine learning to enhance and improve every aspect of the customer experience on our platform, whether it’s optimizing the right order to display a hotel’s photos to surfacing the most relevant reviews.”
The AI Trip Planner takes the trip planning process one step further by providing travellers with a visual list of destinations and properties, including Booking’s pricing information, with deep-links to view more details. Travellers can go back and forth between their chat with the AI Trip Planner and the Booking app interface as they consider options for their trip. With just a tap on any accommodation they are interested in, they can complete the reservation, as the AI Trip Planner is directly integrated into the accommodation booking experience in the platform’s app.
“Oftentimes, people are asked to adapt to the confines of technology to do what they want, but with generative AI, we’re able to start having scalable, one-to-one conversations with our customers on their terms, much like how you would begin to talk about planning a trip with your partner or friends. It’s just the beginning, but we have lots of runway here to explore in order to innovate and connect the travel experience further on Booking.com, all in a safe, ethical and inclusive way”, said Rob Francis, CTO of Booking.com.
While a launch date for the rest of the world has not been announced yet, the latest edition of Booking’s European Accommodation Barometer reveals that AI adoption is low among European hotels, suggesting that it might take some time for the new tool to reach over the pond. “Perhaps, this reflects the very essence of what it means to host guests and to run a hotel: a human-experience-centric business at its core”, Ben Schroeter, Director of Strategic Engagement at Booking.com, commented on the findings.