The Future of Travel: How AI is Revolutionizing the Industry in 2024

It is unbelievable that travelers have only been dabbling in ChatGPT-generated itineraries for about a year. This year will bring more experimentation and innovation. “A.I. is like a teenage intern,” said Chad Burt, co-owner of the travel adviser network Outside Agents, “better, smarter, faster than you, but you need to lead them.”

The increased use of A.I. could impact how bookings are made online, the process when flights are canceled or delayed, and even the cost of tickets.

“In 2024, we will see a new breed of intelligent travel agents built on top of chatbots,” said Oren Etzioni, professor emeritus of computer science at the University of Washington. Travelers will interact with sites like Airbnb, Expedia and Priceline by typing out questions, instead of just ticking boxes to search for lodging, restaurants, and amenities like swimming pools.

A.I. will also power the operations behind the scenes at airlines and airports, said Gilbert Ott, director of partnerships at Point.me. It could improve automatic rebooking onto new flights when customers miss connections or weather affects runways. For example, at United Airlines, smarter software can offer various rebooking options and issue food and lodging vouchers when a flight is canceled, rather than just rescheduling a flight.

On the ground, A.I. software will inform human-made decisions, like how to efficiently reposition baggage carts and staff in response to tight connections or flight delays.

Finally, A.I. systems trained on larger and more up-to-date data sets will allow airlines’ dynamic ticket-pricing algorithms to better use data like weather predictions and customers’ searches to charge as much as they can while still filling planes. Companies like the online travel agency Hopper continue to work the problem from the other side, using 70 trillion data points in its pricing prediction model, in an A.I.-powered arms race between the airlines and customers.

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