Expedia Is Testing ChatGPT To See If It Can Help Users Plan Trips

Online travel booking company Expedia is adding a cool new feature to its mobile app that relies on ChatGPT to help you plan your next vacation with a single-line prompt. No more reading lengthy travel guides and watching influencer videos to get answers to your critical questions. Expedia's move is not unprecedented, even though it seems like an industry-first. A few weeks ago, Microsoft introduced the new and improved Bing search experience fueled by OpenAI's GPT language model, and one of the more impressive demonstrations saw it planning a comprehensive travel itinerary within a few seconds.

With APIs and plug-ins rolling out for commercial clients, it was only a matter of time before OpenAI's ChatGPT would be commercialized for the travel and tourism segment. Expedia happens to be one of those well-known clients; it says users can "start an open-ended conversation" to learn about famous places, route plans, hotel recommendations, and more, for their next trip. The AI-fueled travel-planning feature is currently in the beta testing phase, but if you can't get into the beta testing program, Expedia has launched its own ChatGPT plug-in that you can access to accomplish the same tasks as the app.

It's convenient, but do a double-check

The ChatGPT-powered conversational feature in Expedia's mobile app will also make it easier for users to check out member-exclusive discounts and rewards with ease. But do keep in mind that the system is still in its beta phase, and ChatGPT has its own inherent issues with factual inaccuracies and data set limitations, so you might want to double-check the information before packing your bags. Expedia is well aware of the hurdles, and warns that "while many measures have been taken to limit inaccurate results and inappropriate responses, at times the experience may not work exactly as expected."

With brief testing, we found that ChatGPT and Bing Chat can provide a fairly detailed travel itinerary, but when it comes to more granular details, the information can be outdated or inaccurate. This shortcoming is apparent when it comes to seasonal perks or short-lived policy changes related to hotel amenities, tourist spots, etc. One of the key reasons is that ChatGPT has been trained on data dating until 2021, while products like Bing Chat act more like a web summarizer, which means the results are only as accurate — and up to date — as the sources that it gleans information from. To put it simply, use Expedia's ChatGPT feature as a starting point, and then vet it separately.