Should You Use AI To Plan Your Next Trip?

Many new tools based on the use of AI have surfaced in the travel industry over the last few months. Even giant Google is testing out the use of AI to help people plan trips. On the surface, this seems like a great idea. Some of these tools have access to virtually all of the information that’s available on the web. There’s no way that a human travel planner can have as much data stored in their brains.

However, even the CEO of an AI virtual assistant program called Layla mentions that, at least at this point, these tools aren’t ready to completely replace the human element. If this is not the case, what can AI truly currently offer to travelers? The simplest answer to this seems to be that it can help narrow down the options that you have to choose from. In essence, these tools help you create the framework for your trip. From there, you or a human travel planner is going to be in charge of filling in the details.

An AI tool like Layla helps illustrate this point perfectly. Layla is a chatbot similar to the Siri concept, which has been popular since Apple launched it on its devices. Amazon’s Alexa followed soon after, and Google’s voice command tools tried to mimic the experience. With Layla, the user could build a travel itinerary based on different requests that the AI makes or even questions that the AI asks to be able to create the itinerary.

As a user, one of the best ways to create a good framework for something like a travel itinerary may be to use the proper “keywords.” Suppose that you’re looking for a hotel to spend a romantic weekend at a beach destination. You could start out your request by asking the AI something like what is the cheapest airline ticket that I can get from where I am to a beach destination. If you want to be more specific about that request, you could talk about a beach destination on the West Coast, East Coast, Mexico, the Caribbean, or wherever it may be.

Right off the bat, with that question, you’d be faced with the task of making the first human decision in the process. Are you willing to go to the destination that the AI suggested just because of the price? In any case, through this tool, you’ve hopefully already figured out what the cheapest airline tickets are from where you are to a beach destination.

Once you’ve picked a destination, though, you may come face to face with the biggest hurdle that AI tools have for planning trips. Your next question is likely going to be something along the lines of, what’s a good hotel for couples or a romantic getaway? Depending on the word you use here, that answer could come from a site like Tripadvisor or even a travel blog that has a post with the title, “The most romantic hotels in X city.” We’re not saying travel bloggers aren’t trustworthy! However, keep in mind that the way you frame the question could dictate the answer that you get.

The example aims to prove that with all things AI, it falls on users to discern which of the information they’re being served actually helps them. That’s essentially the same issue that people have been contending with since web browsers like Google came on the scene. If you were to build a travel itinerary exclusively using, for example, a Google-backed AI tool, your result may be very similar to what you’d get if you just took all of the questions that you made to the AI and put them in the web browser. Then, just looked at the first result that you saw and took that as gospel. Hence, the human element is important in travel planning. You need to discern good and bad answers given by the AI. That’s probably something that’s not going to change much, even as these tools evolve.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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