Revolutionizing summer vacation planning with ChatGPT

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Gone are the days of endlessly surfing multiple websites to plan your vacation. Thanks to artificial intelligence engines like ChatGPT, planning your next trip is becoming more seamless and efficient.

AI can swiftly scan and compile data from across the internet, providing humanlike responses and creating a one-stop solution for travelers deciding on activities, accommodations, and dining options. "This is a highly valuable tool for the hospitality and tourism industry," says Jangwoo Jo, Ph.D., assistant professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s School of Hospitality.

Jo, an early adopter of new technology, highlights that itinerary planning was one of the key features promoted when ChatGPT-4 launched last year. He believes this technology will become ubiquitous in our daily lives, especially in travel planning.

The power of contextual awareness

One of the standout features of large-language models like ChatGPT is their contextual awareness, which enables them to understand the essence of a query and provide personalized travel information. "It understands the context: 'I am in this predicament. What’s the solution? What do I need to know?'" explains Jo. This capability allows ChatGPT to offer tailored suggestions to enhance the travel experience.

During a recent Zoom interview, Jo demonstrated AI-guided travel planning using ChatGPT-4, the latest version of the platform. He asked it a series of questions about a hypothetical monthlong trip to his hometown of Seoul, South Korea, and the results were impressive.

Flights and attractions

ChatGPT quickly displayed a variety of flights from Denver to Seoul available on sites like Expedia, Kayak, and Momondo. It also provided a list of potential accommodations for a monthlong stay. When asked about must-see attractions and activities in Seoul during July, ChatGPT suggested visiting local historical sites and the iconic Namsan Tower.

Jo also asked for recommendations on places to eat and where to buy cooking ingredients. The platform provided tips for navigating Seoul’s public transit system, demonstrating its extensive knowledge of tourist destinations.

Language assistance

When Jo inquired about essential Korean phrases and cultural tips, ChatGPT listed common greetings and basic expressions, such as "hello," "goodbye," "thank you," "please," and "Do you speak English?" Generative AI models can "understand" up to 100 languages, enabling them to scan customer reviews and other information in those languages.

Future prospects of AI in travel planning

Despite its impressive capabilities, Jo noted that ChatGPT currently does not handle the actual booking process. "Most of the information is somewhat reliable, but it doesn’t give you a specific option to actually make the plan. You still have to engage in making the reservations, payments, and negotiations," he said.

However, Jo believes future versions of ChatGPT might overcome this limitation, potentially challenging online travel agencies like Expedia and Kayak. "I believe one day generative AI tools will perform those reservations and payments by themselves," he said. "Those online travel agencies are in big trouble. They should work fast to integrate this AI capability into their systems before AI tools integrate online travel agencies within them."

In conclusion, ChatGPT is poised to revolutionize the way we plan our vacations, making the process more streamlined and personalized. As AI continues to evolve, its role in travel planning is expected to grow, offering even greater convenience and efficiency for travelers.

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