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Expedia Unveils AI Assistant to Help With Travel Planning

Expedia Group has unveiled an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant designed to help travelers plan their trip.

The new AI assistant, Romie, can help with planning, shopping, booking and making changes during a trip, the global travel platform said in a Tuesday (May 14) press release.

Romie is in alpha version and is available on the company’s hub for experimental products, EG Labs, according to the release.

“We believe in reimagining the travel experience, and then using the latest in AI to bring it to life, and with Romie, we’ve done just that,” Rathi Murthy, chief technology officer at Expedia Group, said in the release.

Romie can be invited to join the user’s SMS group chat, where it will listen to vacation plans and offer suggestions, per the release.

The AI assistant can also use what it learned from the group chat to personalize the shopping experience, use travel information from emails to suggest restaurants and activities at the destination, and help the user troubleshoot problems by providing suggestions, the release said.

In addition, throughout the trip, Romie can update the customer’s itinerary in real time. This service allows anyone in the group chat to see what the traveler is doing and, if picking the traveler up at the airport, see when the flight will land, per the release.

“We created an AI assistant with hyper personalization in mind so that travelers can choose when they want Romie’s help on their own terms,” Murthy said in the release. “Romie can assist throughout dreaming, planning and traveling or even when things don’t go as planned, all while getting more intelligent as the traveler interacts.”

It was reported in December 2023 that Expedia plans to use AI to change the way people plan their trips and vacations. The company aims to use its library of flight and hotel information, together with users’ travel preferences, to streamline the travel planning process and bring more direct traffic to its site.

In February, when then-CEO Peter Kern announced he would be stepping down, Kern explained how the company’s IT footprint had been optimized and how Expedia will use its AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities to improve both productivity and customer service.

“And generative AI will only accelerate this trend,” Kern said.