In the race for dominance in the AI-powered travel industry, even the smallest lead holds significant importance. Every player in this space aims to leverage the potential of new AI and large language model (LLM) technologies. However, they face a common challenge – the limitations of major platforms like ChatGPT, which are constrained by outdated or non-real-time data. This becomes particularly problematic in an industry like travel, where plans and itineraries are highly susceptible to change, influenced by unpredictable factors like weather conditions.
As investors in the AI travel sector and advisors facilitating deals for startups in collaboration with other investors, we strive to witness companies pushing boundaries and delivering tangible value to users through innovative approaches.
For example, while Kayak and Expedia have introduced ChatGPT plugins, travel publisher Matador Network’s GuideGeek offers a distinct advantage by providing real-time flight data (supported by financial advisory services from GP Bullhound). On the other hand, Roam Around stands out with its visually appealing interface.
However, the complexity of travel information poses a challenge, as incorrect information or AI “hallucinations” can occur. For instance, Roam Around might recommend one website while displaying a photo of another and potentially redirecting users to a third site. In one instance, GuideGeek conjured up a cleverly named pub that, unfortunately, does not exist.
Apart from Airbnb, the travel industry has experienced minimal transformative shifts in the online planning and booking processes for decades. As we navigate this early stage, our firm and the investors we collaborate with do not expect perfection. The striking advancements between GPT-3 and GPT-4 are evident, and we are confident that further progress will be made.
Our focus lies in observing how companies shape and enhance this technology to meet the needs of travelers and capture specific market segments within the travel industry. We believe that the ongoing evolution of AI applications in travel holds immense potential and presents exciting opportunities for both businesses and travelers alike.