Whether you're a homebody or "Wanderlust" is your middle name, traveling is a part of life — from homebound holiday road trips to jet-setting abroad.
Over the years, travel planning and booking has changed a lot. With websites and platforms like Kayak, Google Flights and Airbnb finding the best destinations, routes and prices are just a few clicks away. Now, thanks to developing technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning, arranging excursions is becoming even easier.
Here are some companies that use AI to transform the way people travel.
Location: Washington D.C.
What it does: The passenger railroad service Amtrak offers an intelligent assistant called Julie to assist users with questions and bookings. Created with the help of Next IT, Julie is accessible on Amtrak.com to provide direct answers and information to queries like “show me trains leaving from NY to DC tomorrow.” In addition to answering questions, Julie can make and book reservations.
Industry impact: The AI assistant makes booking and customer experiences smoother for visitors to Amtrak’s website. According to a Next IT case study, Julie answers over five million questions annually and generates 30% more revenue per booking.
Location: Los Angeles
What it does: Baarb is an intelligent personalization platform that matches travelers with hotels that best suit their individual needs. The platform's comparison tool searches listings across hotel booking sites.
Industry impact: The platform eliminates wasted time spent digging through hundreds of listings by taking into account personal factors like whether the traveling group is comprised of friends or family, what their WiFi needs are and what types of activities interest them.
Location: San Carlos, Calif.
What it does: A product of 30SecondsToFly, Claire is a travel management platform for small and mid-sized businesses. The AI-powered assistant chats with employees through message platforms, learns preferences, schedules trips and finds solutions for missed or delayed flights.
Industry impact: Claire helps smaller businesses keep traveling organized and transparent across companies. Having an AI assistant also frees up time for employees who would otherwise be searching for better pricing options as well as scheduling and rescheduling flights.
Location: San Francisco
What it does: Hipmunk helps travelers find the right transportation options and accommodation bookings for the lowest prices. From commercial flights and Amtrak to Airbnb and Wyhdham Hotels, the platform compares prices across the top travel sites to help users find the best match.
Industry impact: Hipmunk’s travel assistant, Hello Hipmunk, provides even more travel support with question-answering capabilities in Facebook Messenger and Slack. Users can ask questions or pose queries like, “Show me the best flights from LAX to JFK” or “What’s the best time to go to Myrtle Beach?” Hipmunk then analyzes its datasets of itineraries, pricing options and room inventory to provide relevant advice.
Location: Montreal, Canada
What it does: Hopper is an intelligent booking app, providing travelers with the best times to purchase flights and make hotel reservations. Hopper’s prediction technology can predict prices with 95% accuracy up to a year in advance. The app tracks prices and recommends the best time to purchase.
Industry impact: More than 30 millions travelers around the world have used Hopper to track and book trips.
Location: Palo Alto, Calif.
What it does: Instalocate is an AI travel assistant that operates within the Facebook Messenger app. The assistant takes the some of the stress out of flying by tracking flights, providing airport directions, estimating baggage and security check times and even finding compensation for flight delays.
Industry impact: Many airlines offer compensation for delayed flights, Instalocate calculates approximate compensation and helps flyers claim their money. Money often goes unclaimed because travelers are either unaware that it's available or they find the process too lengthy. Instalocate helps simplify it.
Location: Denver, Colo.
What it does: Pana is an AI-powered corporate travel platform built for recruiters and business travel needs. The platform helps with logistics surrounding travel plans for on-site interviews, interns, guest speakers, customers and other company guests. After users input a few travel details, it works with the traveling guests and provides an itinerary to recruiters when logistics are finalized.
Industry impact: In addition to its guest travel platform, Pana is developing a business platform to handle a company’s entire travel program for employees and guests.
Location: Sunnyvale, Calif.
What it does: Mezi is a personal travel assistant that uses AI to help with the variety of tasks that are involved in planning a trip. Providing everything from end-to-end flight and hotel bookings to dinner reservations, Mezi makes planning easier through natural language messaging and machine learning.
Industry impact: Mezi makes the booking experience smoother. The more a user interacts with the AI assistant, the more it understands user preferences and the better recommendations it provides.
What it does: Utrip is a personalization and AI recommendation platform designed for the travel industry. It takes in user data like interests, budgets and must-see places, sorts through countless destinations and recommends the most relevant and personalized travel options. The platform also partners with airlines, hotels, cruise lines, destination marketing organizations and visitor bureaus to help engage with travelers and boost booking numbers.
Industry impact: The Nashville Convention & Visitor Corps, which is responsible for marketing Nashville, Music City, integrated Utrip into its site’s itinerary planner and saw a 72% increase in trips planned as well as a 61% increase in users month-to-month.
Images via Shutterstock, social media and screenshots of company web pages