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Expedia Aims to Employ AI to Reduce Dependency on Google in Trip-Planning Business

Expedia ventures into AI-driven travel planning, aiming for personalized recommendations and a streamlined booking process. Explore its impact on travel.

Expedia’s AI Push: Transforming Travel Planning from Start to Finish

Expedia is embarking on an AI-driven transformation to redefine how travelers plan and book their journeys. The company aims to incentivize users to start their travel exploration directly on its platform using AI, bypassing external search engines.

Rajesh Naidu, chief architect at Expedia, envisions a future where AI assists users in discovering travel destinations based on their preferences and past trips. The company intends to leverage its massive data repository of 70 petabytes to train AI models, providing tailored recommendations for flights, accommodations, and activities. Naidu emphasizes the goal of centralizing trip planning within Expedia's ecosystem.

Currently, individuals often initiate their trip planning through search engines before resorting to platforms like Expedia for bookings. Expedia's ambition is to simplify this process further by offering comprehensive travel planning capabilities, akin to traditional travel agents, using AI assistance.

While AI has its limitations in directly booking flights, Expedia's focus is on integrating personalized planning into its platform. This move aims to reduce reliance on intermediaries like Google, as highlighted during the US v. Google antitrust trial. Expedia seeks to increase revenue by enhancing its direct traffic through comprehensive AI-driven travel planning.

Though the full suite of personalized travel planning isn't yet available, Expedia has been leveraging machine learning algorithms for flight tracking and hotel searches. The platform has introduced Virtual Assistant and ChatGPT-powered customer service tools to assist customers post-booking. Additionally, Expedia's Vrbo, a vacation rental website, employs AI for property descriptions and photo evaluations.

Expedia's foray into AI-driven travel planning signifies a shift towards a more intuitive, personalized, and streamlined travel experience, promising to reshape the landscape of travel planning and booking.