Expedia Launches AI Chat Tool for Hotel Recommendations

Expedia has launched a plug-in in its app using the latest version of AI chat technology to recommend prospective hotels. Travelers can use the ChatGPT function to converse on the best destinations and hotels for their trip. The plug-in saves hotel recommendations to profiles on the Expedia app, adding them to users’ Trip Planning Boards.

The chat function offers a conversational way of shopping and searching for trips and aims to streamline the process. Hotel options are offered through small modules within the chat, and users can save recommended hotels to their profile. The tool is designed to help consumers do basic language discovery. Peter Kern, CEO of Expedia Group, describes the tool as a way to help travelers store options into their Trip Boards before decisions are made.

The ChatGPT plug-in of Expedia’s existing hotel search function both pull from Expedia’s proprietary hotel data, the main difference being a more conversational experience for users. The plug-in uses booking site’s smart-shopping algorithms and various data points like hotel availability, pricing, and machine-learning sorting. Expedia also used algorithms and AI functions to limit conversations to only travel booking.

In the current beta version of the plug-in, ChatGPT recommends and saves three to five different hotel options per search. In the future, the aim is to consistently offer five recommendations for every search as the technology becomes more accurate. “Our platform generates over 600 billion AI predictions a year,” says Rathi Murthy, Expedia Group’s Chief Technology Officer. The new tool utilizes the conversational aspects of the ChatGPT, taking advantage of the technology.

Accuracy has been an issue with early iterations of travel booking with ChatGPT, as have the recommendations being too broad. “ChatGPT’s lack of specificity is exhausting,” wrote Traveler contributor Ashlea Halperin, describing her use of the public version of the chatbot for planning her upcoming honeymoon in the Faroe Islands. The tool provided her with some useful information but nothing she could take as gospel.

Although the chatbot has created a buzz in the travel industry over how it might shift booking methods, the actual impact on travelers’ habits remains to be seen. Kern admits that “we don’t know if travelers will embrace it,” but believes the tool will solve for as many customers’ shopping preferences as possible.

The beta version of the plug-in uses the latest GPT-4 technology. It is now available for all iOS users of the latest version of the Expedia app. “Whether it enhances the discovery process or gets you there faster depends a lot on the person,” Kern says. “Really, we’re trying to solve for as many customers and as many ways they want to shop as we can, and we think there will be interest, and it will help people.”

In conclusion, the ChatGPT plug-in by Expedia is the newest addition to AI chat technology that helps recommend prospective hotels for travelers’ trips. The tool uses smart-shopping algorithms, machine-learning sorting, and various data points to suggest hotels to users on its conversational search function. The tool utilizes the conversational aspect of the ChatGPT technology, and although accuracy has been an issue in its early stages, Expedia is constantly improving it to be more specific and offering more recommendations based on user search. The tool is now available for all iOS users on the latest version of the Expedia app and aims to solve for as many customers and their preferred shopping methods as possible.

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