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Expedia Aims to Capture Travel Planning in Addition to Booking

Expedia building

Personal travel website Expedia aims to use artificial intelligence (AI) to change the way people plan their trips and vacations.

The company is looking to provide personalized recommendations to users, helping them make decisions about their next travel destinations, The Verge reported Monday (Dec. 18).

By utilizing its vast library of flight and hotel information, as well as analyzing users’ travel preferences, Expedia plans to streamline the travel planning process and bring more direct traffic to its site, according to the report.

The long-term goal is to become the go-to platform for users to start their travel search, Rajesh Naidu, chief architect and head of data management at Expedia, said in the report.

According to the report, many people begin their trip planning by using search engines like Google to look for destinations before visiting services like Expedia to book their travel and accommodation.

Expedia wants to change this by offering comprehensive recommendations and information right from the start, the report said.

The company envisions a future where travelers can book a flight simply by stating their preferred time and airline, with the AI handling the rest, per the report. While AI cannot yet perform all aspects of travel booking, Expedia aims to bring users closer to this ideal by offering a one-stop platform for travel planning, reminiscent of the role travel agents played before internet booking became prevalent.

Expedia’s focus on AI-driven recommendations and personalized travel planning not only aims to enhance the user experience but also reduce its reliance on search engines like Google, according to the report. During the U.S. vs. Google antitrust trial, Expedia’s former chief financial officer, Jeff Hurst, testified that despite increasing payments to Google for ad space, Expedia did not see an increase in traffic after the search engine started displaying flights and hotels.

By cutting out the middleman, Expedia stands to gain more revenue, the report said.

While Expedia’s vision of all-in-one personalized travel planning is not fully realized yet, the company has already been utilizing machine learning algorithms to track flight prices and find hotels, per the report. It has also introduced tools like a Virtual Assistant to assist customers with post-booking inquiries and a customer service chatbot powered by ChatGPT.

During the company’s most recent earnings call, Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern said the firm plans to leverage its AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities to enhance the customer experience by improving the planning and booking process.