Expedia: AI "Isn't Going to Impact" Agents, TAAP



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Following news late MAR, as Open Jaw reported, that Expedia Group has collaborated with ChatGPT on a tool that can actually help online users book travel - as opposed to simply identifying features and benefits of destinations and even suppliers - the company has explained to Open Jaw that it still doesn't see AI replacing travel advisors.

Expedia Group owns such OTA's as Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Vrbo, and also operates its TAAP program for travel advisors.

It says its new collaboration with ChatGPT's OpenAI can let users go from research and itinerary building to booking via Expedia.com.

Once a traveller enables the Expedia plugin (think ChatGPT app store) they can bring a trip itinerary in ChatGPT to life – how to get there, where to stay, and what to see and do – powered by Expedia Group’s travel data. When they’re ready to book, they’ll be sent to Expedia.

According to the company, AI has transformed Expedia Group "from an online travel agency to a technology platform powering travel at every step of the journey for 154M+ travellers and 50K+ partners globally:"

  • where its Virtual Agent has powered more than 30M+ virtual conversations, saving 8M+ hours in agent time; and
  • AI that evaluates more than 360K+ permutations of a page on one of its brand sites feeds travellers "the most relevant information for them."

Open Jaw asked the company what this means for travel agents - who may also be the company's own TAAP users. In an emailed reply, Expedia told Open Jaw:

"Our stance is that generative AI isn't going to impact OTAs - and by extension our work with travel agents and TAAP. Travel is still a highly complex field where getting the details right matters. Furthermore, travelers still care about the end to end seamless experience and that's where our decades of experience, data and knowledge of traveler preferences is still important. ChatGPT might be able to plan an itinerary but it can't help a traveler if something goes wrong."
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