Is ChatGPT capable of planning your vacation? Here’s what you need to know about artificial intelligence and travel
Artificial intelligence software is already shaking up the travel industry, but it has a long way to go before it can plan a seamless dream destination holiday with all the right details. At least, for now.
One day soon, in the artificial-intelligence-powered future, a vacation might start by telling your smartphone something like this: “I want to take a four-day trip to Los Angeles in June, whenever airfare and hotel rates are the best, using loyalty rewards points.” You spit out the perfect itinerary, telling you: “I want to see a history museum and an amusement park, and then I want a 7pm dinner reservation at a restaurant with vegan options and a great wine list near the hotel.”
ChatGPT – the AI software that can already create cocktail recipes and write college papers – may have to temper travellers’ expectations for now.
To find out if ChatGPT could help Oded Battat with his work, he asked ChatGPT for outings he could offer to his clients going to Tuscany, Italy. The medieval hill town of San Gimignano provided him with a list of 14 activities, including winery tours and museum visits, as well as gelato in the town square.
He added that ChatGPT saved him the hassle of gathering all this information and delivering it in a format he could email to a client.
Battat has begun using ChatGPT since November, and it has already started shaking up tech-driven industries, including travel.
In contrast to AI that is already familiar to most consumers – for instance, website chatbots – ChatGPT is generative, which means it can analyze or summarize content from a huge set of information, such as webpages, books, and other writings, and use that data to create original new content. Its advanced natural language capabilities also mean it understands and responds in a more conversational way.MANY USES, AND LIMITATIONS
Travellers are already able to “converse” with the system, sharing information like a destination, time of year, and interests, and receiving a tailored itinerary complete with vivid descriptions.
A reporter’s recent request for a two-day itinerary to Whistler, British Columbia, yielded ideas like snowshoeing with a guide who will point out the local flora and fauna and dog-sledding with a team of beautiful huskies. If additional parameters are specified, ChatGPT will update its recommendations, so adding a preference for Thai food to the Whistler conversation prompted the system to suggest more restaurants.