Expedia's ChatGPT Plugin: Pros, Cons, and Overall Effectiveness
The emergence of ChatGPT has been a game-changer across various industries, including travel, as it continues to disrupt the status quo. Expedia is one of the latest companies to embrace this cutting-edge AI technology by incorporating it as a plug-in on its app.
ChatGPT has been a popular tool for trip planning among its users, starting with asking questions from “What is Croatia famous for?” to creating itineraries of specific destinations; at that time, we did our research on that, too, and shared our results and thoughts in the blog post. Today let’s talk about the newest hit in the travel industry - Expedia’s ChatGPT.
Last month Expedia announced launching of its own ChatGPT plugin. With this upgrade, travelers can explore the best destinations and ideal times to visit and receive personalized hotel recommendations. These recommendations are seamlessly saved to the user's profile within the Expedia app via ChatGPT's plugin. Also, this integration allows travelers to easily continue their trip planning by searching for check-in dates, room availability, and flights on the Expedia platform.
How does it work? Suppose a user asks ChatGPT for recommendations for a hotel in Paris located near the Louvre. In that case, ChatGPT's AI technology can understand the request and communicate with Expedia to provide three to five relevant suggestions. These recommendations are clickable links that redirect users to Expedia's website or app for further exploration and booking.
What's more, if a user is searching for a non-stop flight from New York to Rome in September, within seconds, the chatbot scans the Expedia catalog and suggests a flight that includes travel details, ticket price, a direct link to purchase the ticket, and suggests personalized recommendations for accommodation and activities, based on one or two follow-up questions followed-up by the user.
Pros of Expedia's ChatGPT Plugin:
- Time-saving. It helps those who only have a little time for research or seek top suggested itineraries. Only in a fe minutes can a user have everything: choose preferred flights and accommodations and learn about famous attractions of the destination.
- Convenience. By using Expedia's ChatGPT plugin, the user doesn't need to search on the internet for all the details or open tens of tabs of potential flights, hotels, and attractions to plan his trip.
- Cost-effectiveness. Most, if not all, plugins for ChatGPT are available for free, which can be a great solution for users with limited budgets or resources. For example, you don't need to buy X destination itineraries from Amazon or reserve time with a travel agent.
Cons of Expedia's ChatGPT plugin:
- Not flexible. If you are a frequent traveler you might be interested in off-beat destinations rather than Chicago, London, or Paris, so you won’t get as many details as you can find on the internet. It means that you still need to do some googling. However, it might change in a month or few to improve such flaws.
- It could show better deals. For instance, you are asking for the lowest price for 3-star hotels in the Paris center; it offers the lowest deal from Expedia, not the lowest in general. So if the user travels on a budget and prices for accommodation, flights, or car rentals are important, he needs to do deeper research. In the travel market, prices change so fast; that's why people need to be alert and know all the possible ways to find the best deal and be sure of it.
- Real-world experience. Some things can be shared only if someone has experienced them. People often choose based on recommendations: the best restaurant, time to go to Marrakech market, etc. It ensures that someone already did it, and it is all good. Travelers who enjoy conducting thorough research to identify the best flight times or who value reading guest reviews may still favor the Expedia app and website over ChatGPT's approach.
Although AI chatbots can quickly create customized itineraries for flights, hotels, and activities, travel agents are still valuable because of their real-world experience at destinations. Therefore, it is unlikely that Expedia's ChatGPT will upgrade itself so much that it will completely replace travel agents soon. However, using the Expedia plugin can significantly streamline the booking process for your next trip compared to traditional search methods.
And what do you think about Expedia's ChatGPT plugin? Leave your comment below.