The evolution of technology has ushered in a new era, one where ‘Search & Find’ for information is no longer the norm. Welcome to the age of ‘Train & Tell’ where the focus is on creating a more human-like conversation, with an intelligent machine. The ability for a tool to truly understand its user is becoming increasingly important, as it allows for a deeper level of engagement and a more personalized experience. With the ability to understand a person’s likes, dislikes, mood, and tone of voice, technology is now able to have a more meaningful dialogue with its users.
Many Artificial Intelligence capable models have come forward in recent years and perform this work extremely well, like generating human-like text, language understanding and translation, summarization, classification, dialogue & content generation, sentiment analysis, etc. and are still evolving at an unimaginable speed. Take for instance, the new talk of the town – ChatGPT, an NLP powered chatbot which has gone from unknown to one million subscribers in no time.
ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) is an extremely powerful tool for natural language processing and response, making it a game-changer in the field of chatbot tech. It is a large language model that has been trained on troves of data, and uses advanced machine learning algorithms to understand and respond to a wide range of inputs, providing a more natural and seamless conversational experiences for users. With the ability to maintain context and remember previous interactions, it provides a more personalized and efficient experience for users with a more natural and human-like interactions.
ChatGPT can have wide ranging applications for the Travel industry:
Travel Planning/Itinerary Planning: ChatGPT has the ability to revolutionize the way travelers plan their trips. It can assist customers in creating personalized itineraries with minimal research and effort. I have personally tried this for a weekend trip involving a casino visit with friends, a budget hotel stay, and a few other activities, and the itinerary generated by ChatGPT was spot on! It seemed to understand the nuances of my needs and preferences, making the planning process much more efficient. With this technology, the entire booking and planning process, including searching for flights, hotels, rental cars, and providing recommendations and suggestions, can be optimized to a new level. It can change the way we plan, book our travel, and make it more efficient, effortless, and enjoyable.
Post-Booking Support: Providing post-booking support, such as assistance with flight and hotel confirmations, changes to itineraries, travel document & visa requirements, travel insurance & claim process needs, etc. an eat into a travel start-up’s bandwidth.
This can alleviate any worries a customer may have faced following the booking process.
Customer Service: By handling customer inquiries and providing answers to frequently asked questions very effectively, due to its ability to retain and learn from previous conversation, ChatGPT can help reduce the workload on customer service teams and improve the overall customer experience. With its ability to understand natural language, and provide personalized responses, it can offer a more efficient and effective self-service option for customers. It can be trained on emotions to respond with empathy and understanding in situations where a customer may be upset or frustrated. This can help resolve issues faster, saving both the customer and the customer service agent time and effort.
Virtual Guide: It can be a virtual guide for travelers. With its vast knowledge base, ChatGPT can provide travelers with detailed information on their destination, including weather conditions, local customs, the best time to visit, popular tourist spots, local cuisines etc. This can help travelers plan their trip more effectively, ensuring they make the most of their time and avoid any potential travel pitfalls. Imagine having a personal guide by your side all the time!
Review & Ratings: It can be used to consolidate and summarize reviews (hotels, attractions, etc.) by training it on a dataset of hotel reviews. Once trained, the model can generate a summary of the reviews by identifying common themes and sentiments expressed in them. Additionally, the model can also be fine-tuned to predict the rating of a hotel based on the reviews it has received.
Content Production: It can be used to summarize travel-related articles and news and is extremely useful to create engaging and informative content for customers. By being trained on a dataset of current travel package descriptions and other related content, the model can learn the language and tone used in the industry, which improves the accuracy and effectiveness of the generated descriptions.
Content Aggregation: Data consolidation is a major challenge in the hotel industry, particularly for aggregators who need to manage large amounts of information from multiple sources. The problem is that when the same hotel content comes in from multiple providers, it can be difficult to identify and consolidate the information due to variations in the content. However, ChatGPT’s advanced language consolidation and summarization capabilities can offer a solution to this problem by easily identifying duplicate content and consolidating it into a single unique ID.
Increased Market Reach: ChatGPT has the potential to significantly increase the reach of travel businesses by leveraging its seamless language translation capability. With its ability to understand and respond to customer inquiries in multiple languages, just like a human translator, it can help travel agents expand their reach to new markets and grow their customer base, while making significant savings on opex costs.
Upselling / Cross-Selling: It can be used as a tool to help with upselling and cross-selling in the travel industry. By analyzing customer interactions and preferences, the model can provide personalized recommendations for additional services and products that may interest the customer. ChatGPT can analyze customer’s conversation and suggest options such as activities, sightseeing, and dining options, etc. based on their interests and budget. There are many more such examples where it can extract real valuable insights from the conversation itself.
And many more: There are numerous other potential applications for ChatGPT in areas such as travel marketing, event planning, fraud detection, training for travel agents, etc. Additionally, it can be adapted to assist travelers as a virtual shopping assistant, providing guidance and recommendations for e-commerce and local shopping.
While there are many potential applications for ChatGPT within the travel industry, some critics are skeptical of the hype surrounding the technology. They argue that the travel industry is highly dynamic, with inventory, prices, and other availability parameters changing constantly. As a result, they argue that a chatbot like ChatGPT would need to be integrated with a dynamic framework in order to access real-time data and be useful for travel planning. Some critics may also view it as simply trained to generate words based on a given input, but it does not have the ability to truly comprehend the meaning behind those words. Also, many other points out the ethical concerns around the conversation. However, many others believe that there are numerous potential use cases for ChatGPT in the travel industry, particularly in the areas of automation and automated content creation. They argue that the potential of conversational AI frameworks like ChatGPT are limitless, and that new ideas and applications will emerge over time. They also believe that with ChatGPT, the travel industry can take a significant step forward in terms of customer experience and efficiency. Personally, I think this is just the beginning and in the coming days, we will get to see many more practical use cases and applications emerging from the travel industry.
By Sanjeeb Patel, Director – Software Engineering, Sabre India