ChatGPT, journey knowledge, OTAs: PhocusWire’s high opinion tales of 2023


Part of PhocusWire’s mission is to create a discussion board the place thought leaders within the journey tech world can share their insights and views on important developments and developments within the trade.

These opinion items are sometimes amongst our hottest tales in any given week — so we thought this yr they deserved their very own roundup of the most well-liked ones in 2023. This yr’s widespread op-eds had been heavy on ChatGPT and synthetic intelligence, in fact, but in addition coated makes use of of journey knowledge, social media influencers and the loyalty methods of journey giants like Expedia, Reserving, Hopper and Airbnb.

Look ahead to our countdown of the highest 10 journey tech information tales within the coming days. In the meantime, in reverse order, listed below are our high opinion items from 2023 …

10. How travel brands can activate first party data

Written by Dave Goulden of Sojern, this story from January spoke to how journey entrepreneurs can use first-party knowledge to draw new vacationers.

The problem was high of thoughts for a lot of with the web shifting away from third-party cookies, and Goulden suggested journey entrepreneurs to comply with the instance of the retail trade by attending to know their clients higher.

“Journey habits has modified immensely up to now two and a half years, and first-party knowledge provides manufacturers necessary insights into what company need now,” Goulden wrote. “First-party knowledge drives personalization, and it additionally permits entrepreneurs to attract from the visitor expertise throughout all contact factors on the customer journey.”

9. Automation, innovation, ChatGPT: The future for travel agents

Written by Eviivo CEO Michele Fitzpatrick, this story from September addressed methods automation and tech innovation was persevering with to rework journey and the way journey brokers might combine know-how to efficiently work with purchasers.

The story centered on three areas: figuring out which automation instruments might make an agent’s life simpler; making ready to immerse in digital and augmented actuality; and, in fact, studying all of the methods massive language fashions like ChatGPT could possibly be utilized to the job.

“The human contact and fantastic, personalised service that many vacationers choose will be built-in with ChatGPT to supply the perfect mixture of information, data, comfort and empathy,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

8. Two ways airlines might increase revenue

Written by Peer Winter of 777 Travel Tech, this story from January inspired airways to hunt new ways and assume past their core markets to execute their development methods.

On the high of that checklist: increasing networks, exploring new approaches to distribution and placing a premium on income high quality.

“In as we speak’s market, cultivating new, sustainable sources of high-quality income and discovering modern methods to capitalize on surging journey demand is crucial to airways attaining the long-term development they should survive and thrive,” Winter wrote.

7. When will travel agencies deliver the “connected trip”?

Written by Magpie CEO Christian Watts, this story from March requested why journey tech isn’t nearer to offering a single app that helps vacationers from the beginning of reserving a visit to the return dwelling — whereas recommending alongside the best way “the place to get the venti, half-sweet, non-fat, iced mocha with gentle whipped cream and chocolate shavings on high that you just want day by day.”

Obstacles embody the inherent disconnect of in-destination actions, together with experiences and eating places and the inadequacy of the info that’s traditionally been accessible to journey corporations. The answer — coming quickly? — might lie with synthetic intelligence, in each the info it could possibly assist collect and the suggestions it could possibly supply.

“It’s a gorgeous idea,” Watts wrote. “Your on-the-ground, always-there assistant is the place a model can create actual loyalty, with all these additional touchpoints, reasonably than an extended string of flight delay notifications. It’s, or needs to be, a worthy goal for all main journey manufacturers.”

6. Taking the long view of American Airlines’ NDC strategy

Written by AmTrav CEO Jeff Klee, this story from April adopted American Airways’ determination to take away a few of its content material from world distribution techniques (GDS) as a part of its new distribution functionality (NDC) technique.

Whereas noting that direct fares on the NDC had been little totally different on the time than what had been accessible earlier than on legacy channels, the writer predicted that will change shortly and referred to as on journey administration corporations (TMC) to brace for it.

“Due to American’s actions, extra progress has been made by TMCs, GDSs and different trade gamers within the final quarter, albeit grudgingly in some instances, than in some other quarter I can keep in mind,” Klee wrote. “Finally that may translate into higher experiences for vacationers and their corporations.”

5. ChatGPT means radically improved travel sales conversion

Written by Travelocity founder Terry Jones, this story from April shared a few of the writer’s firsthand expertise with synthetic intelligence a decade in the past by working with IBM Watson.

That satisfied him that the person interfaces he’d seen in place since launching Travelocity in 1996 will shortly be surpassed by what AI might do. Pure language search, for instance, results in a wealth of person intent knowledge that can be utilized to personalize affords, resulting in extra gross sales conversions and higher buyer satisfaction.

“Don’t neglect AIs are ‘studying’ techniques,” Jones wrote. “They develop and enhance with every interplay. In case your competitor has a studying AI-based interface and also you don’t, they’ll quickly have an AI Ph.D., and you’ll nonetheless be in kindergarten. I doubt you’ll ever catch up.”

4. Travel fintech trends to watch in 2023

Written by Outpayce CEO David Physician, this story from January checked out alternatives for journey corporations to capitalize on the development of monetary companies like funds, lending and extra to be embedded in digital experiences.

The story cited the instance of Amadeus’ work with British Airways to trial biometrics on chosen flights at Heathrow Terminal 5 in order that enrolled passengers might use facial recognition as an alternative of a boarding move or passport at check-in, bag drop or when boarding. By the identical token, biometrics could possibly be used to authenticate funds throughout a journey.

“We count on adoption to speed up additional in 2023,” Physician wrote, “pushed by an rising variety of partnerships in journey and fintech with continued recognition that easy and linked funds will be an necessary differentiator for journey manufacturers.”

3. The power – and limitations – of ChatGPT for travel

Written by Lennart Dobravsky of Lufthansa Innovation Hub’s TNMT, this story from January in described a colleague’s development of a man-made intelligence-based journey inspiration instrument. It didn’t take greater than an hour to construct.

The pace of the outcomes strengthened the potential of generative synthetic intelligence, however the writer additionally addressed the know-how’s limitations, which had been simply being acknowledged on the time.

“Generative AI is prone to have large implications for every kind of apparent use instances round texting and imagery within the journey context, similar to itinerary planning and customer support,” Dobravsky wrote. “If you happen to evaluate most of as we speak’s airline chatbots with what ChatGPT has to supply, it appears like we bought catapulted from the stone age into the trendy world in a single day.”

2. Influencers are a new class of travel agents – but lack the right tools

Written by Betsy Mulé of F-Prime Capital, this story from August made the case that social media influencers are more and more turning into a brand new breed of journey agent. On TikTok, the journey hashtag garnered 182 billion views; Instagram supplied 695 posts with the identical tag, offering untold inspiration about the place to go and what to do, particularly amongst youthful vacationers.

The story famous a brand new era of startups had been creating instruments to assist influencers monetize their efforts — and for his or her followers to behave on reserving the journeys they’ve been impressed to make.

“Whereas instruments exist for conventional journey brokers, they’re constructed for 1-to-1 transactions for educated journey brokers reasonably than the 1-to-many interactions creators have whereas constructing a neighborhood and a model,” Mulé wrote.

1. Tracking the loyalty strategies of online travel giants

Written by Mario Gavira of, this story from January in contrast the loyalty methods of Expedia,, Hopper and Airbnb. Whereas a lot of the on-line journey gamers had been betting on monetary rewards as the important thing to boosting buyer retention, Airbnb took a unique strategy.

Its deal with constructing a powerful model that linked at a deeper stage with vacationers allowed it to eschew the same old efficiency advertising methods. The story questioned whether or not it might preserve its dominant place in drawing direct bookings with out providing monetary rewards.

The stakes could be excessive, Gavira wrote. “If the previous decade was primarily dominated by the overlords in on-line buyer acquisition, count on this decade to be formed by the gamers who handle to construct a real loyal buyer base in journey.”

Gavira’s bragging rights don’t finish with having written our hottest opinion piece for the yr. He additionally wrote one other of our hottest op-eds: a narrative from Could concerning the potential impact of ChatGPT plugins on the travel booking experience.

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