Three ways generative AI is improving the travel industry

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The travel industry – like much of the global community – has been captivated by generative artificial intelligence.

As its place in the travel world continues to unfurl, experts came together during a panel at The Phocuswright Conference on “The Future of the Trip” – hint, it’s “generative.”

In a wide-ranging conversation on generative artificial intelligence and travel, Prashant Bhugra, head of travel for Microsoft, Brett Keller, CEO of Priceline, and Gilles Trantoul, vice president of product marketing and portfolio strategy for Amadeus, sat down with moderator Robert Cole, senior research analyst on lodging and leisure travel for Phocuswright.

The panelists zoned in on opportunities generative AI presents for the travel industry, highlighting a few that seem to have the industry captivated.

Human-like conversation makes answering travel queries easier

Part of the appeal of generative AI-powered chatbots is their ability to make human-like conversation.

“So you can come to us like you believe that you have a human in front of you,” said Trantoul. “And it has direct implication on the inspiration phase, assisted booking and partially for servicing, when it relates to how to question or you can actually educate someone.” 

Bhugra agreed that the ability this tech has to interact as if it is the user’s “co-pilot” is pretty transformative.

“I feel like the natural language aspect of generative AI … the ability that it provides you to sort of just speak into the interface and ask for what you need, and not really have to type like a one word, two word query that you typically have been doing on search engines or even on other sites,” Bhugra said. “So that’s pretty transformative in and of itself.”

That capability simplifies customer service to a degree.

Employee productivity can benefit from generative AI

Generative AI can also significantly ease workflow for developers and increase productivity, said Bhugra.

“The developer productivity aspect of it is also phenomenal,” he said. “The ability to kind of help … the developers get more productive and efficient is something that I’m pretty amazed by. The aspect of just doing all kinds of complex tasks – like even if you want to go to a destination and you want to compare two destinations, or you want to compare hotels, that’s a lot of work that you may have to do manually. I think you can depend on GenAI to sort of help you with those tasks and actually get them done very fast.” 

Keller chimed in on the efficiency increase.

“GenAI really does democratize this for everybody, any website, any product, any service, whether you have two employees or you know thousands of employees, and that’s what I love about this,” he said.

Generative AI is removing travel barriers

Generative AI also has the potential to help remove language barriers, making travel more universal per Bhugra’s estimation.

“You are going to be talking to companies … that may not be in your language when you’re at a destination,” he said, noting that generative AI provides the ability to communicate more quickly, to complete tasks more quickly – even if you’re not operating in your native language. “GenAI can actually help … from speech recognition, basically converting it into the native language, getting the task implemented, getting the response and then text to speech, getting it back, back out to you.”

The group touched further on accessibility, customer care and also their concerns with the emerging technology.

Watch their full conversation below.

The Future of the Trip is Generative w/ Microsoft, Priceline & Amadeus: The Phocuswright Conference

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