Disruption from AI is already rife, says Euromonitor International head of Travel and Tourism Research
According to new market research by Euromonitor International, travellers are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT to plan their travel itineraries.
In Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry: Travel Survey 97.8% of travel executives agreed that AI will have an impact on the industry within the next five years.
Euromonitor International head of Travel and Tourism Research Caroline Bremner said: “ChatGPT is taking travel – and the world – by storm. With travel highly digitised, with 66% of all bookings are conducted online in 2023, and mobile bookings accounting for 35% of all online sales, disruption from generative AI is already rife.”
Bremner added: “The path of AI adoption will not run entirely smoothly as there are major concerns over consumer privacy with countries like Italy temporarily banning ChatGPT. The risks of amplifying misinformation, bias and inequality are all too real. Safety and security of consumers must be of paramount importance.”
However, despite the data risks, the travel industry is already adapting. Expedia announced in April 2023 its collaboration with OpenAI, offering in-app trip planning powered by ChatGPT for iOS, as well as offering a plug-in to ChatGPT Plus users.
The Expedia ChatGPT experience provides personalised recommendations, acting like a virtual travel assistant, delivering relevant results for hotels and what to do in destination.
Booking Holding’s Kayak and OpenTable also announced ChatGPT plug-ins. Other travel brands like TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide and Klook followed suit. Trip.com integrated ChatGPT into TripGen, its newly released AI chatbot that provides real-time assistance, itinerary planning and booking tips in the pre-trip stage.
Elsewhere, hotels and airlines are turning to generative AI for customer service, while automating menial tasks.
More integration will inevitably follow so that ultimately the trip planning to booking stages will blend seamlessly, dependent on access to real-time booking functionality.
Three decades ago, travel agents faced mass disruption due to the rise of online travel. The shift led to mass store closures and job losses. Now, the sector is ripe for more disruption as generative AI accelerates automation of tasks across every stage of the customer journey, before, during and after the trip.
Bremner concluded: “As before, travel brands will take the rough with the smooth to navigate this new phase of digital transformation with a 'test and learn' approach. However, only those that ultimately celebrate the human touch of travel and hospitality will thrive.”
For more information, visit www.euromonitor.com