The AI revolution in travel: 5 key takeaways from Travolution Summit

It’s fair to say that OpenAI has shaken things with the launch of ChatGPT – and it feels like something of a watershed moment. There’s definitely no going back to how it was. And if AI wasn’t on your agenda before, it certainly is now.

Travel is one of the industries ripe for disruption. Whether AI is now a top priority for you or you’re only just beginning to get your head around it, there’s still a lot to figure out. To help you get a clearer picture on how we think AI is going to impact the world of travel, here are five key takeaways from our recent appearance at the Travolution Summit, which we’ve expanded and added detail too.

1. AI-powered content is going to help travel businesses scale their websites at speed

As a digital marketing agency, our mission is to help travel brands transform the way they reach and connect with their audiences online. Technology has always played a big role in what we do, with AI the latest and most powerful addition to our toolkit.

One of the solutions we’ve developed allows us to generate highly tailored and optimised content at scale and at speed, from landing pages to product descriptions. 

This is important for travel brands, because it allows you to use your content resources more effectively. AI generated content is the perfect mechanic for handling the creation of travel businesses’ largest content needs: informational, contextual content such as hotel descriptions or destination descriptions. 

Typically this type of content is needed to be published across thousands of pages, and it’s likely to require a yearly review to ensure the content remains current and accurate. The review and refresh of content is automatable when paired up with AI content generation. 

Generative AI, such as LLMs, allows you to efficiently tackle this challenge. You can then redeploy your content resources to work on brand campaigns or more emotive content outputs, where AI content isn’t the greatest solution. 

2. Search is evolving but what’s really changing is the way Google-friendly content is created

When it comes to search, AI isn’t new. Google, for example, has always long relied on AI to power and improve its search engine. What has changed – ignoring, for a moment, Bard, which is still work in progress – is the way in which we approach creating high-quality content.

Increasingly, it’s going to be generated by AI, either in its entirety or in a collaborative way. Travellers are still going to head to Google to find what they’re looking for. As we noted in a blog, “Google search is about making information online more discoverable” – ChatGPT, meanwhile, is more about generating unique answers in a conversational way.

3. The best AI-powered solutions are the ones that are overseen and shaped by experts

You’re always going to need some level of human oversight when it comes to AI. This is not only from a quality control and safety perspective, but also from the point of view of the added value and expertise that people bring.

Accordingly, our approach to content creation is very human-centric. It’s our team of experts that liaise with travel brands, steer the development of bespoke language models and then review output. Think of it as being engineered by experts and fuelled by AI.

4. AI is coming of age and the sooner you embrace the technology, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits

ChatGPT is new. What isn’t is its underlying technology, Whether you call it GPT, a large language model or machine learning, this type of AI has been around for a while. Likewise, the idea of automation isn’t new – it’s existed for centuries. It’s just simply started to come of age.

So while there is a lot of buzz and hype about what, in particular, ChatGPT can do – which still is, in many ways, very limited – AI isn’t a fad. Travel brands that start embracing and experimenting with the technology, whether they’re looking to rank for more keywords or understand customers better, are going to find themselves in a strong position in the long run.

5. AI will change the way writers work and also allow them to charge more

ChatGPT is scarily impressive. It’s creative, it can generate coherent, well-written responses and it can pretty much answer any type of question confidently – in seconds. No one person on this planet is capable of doing that.

So, for creatives, especially writers, it can feel like the writing is on the wall. How do you compete with something as powerful as that? Well, easily. Let’s take ChatGPT. It makes mistakes. It’s repetitive. It can only “think” in a controlled way. And it doesn’t have any personal experiences to draw from (which is essential for a lot of travel-related content).

It will certainly change the way writer’s write, but arguably no different than, say, Word or smart compose functionality. And, more to the point, there will always be a need for high-value, human-generated content that people will be happy to pay a premium for.

Melt Digital was founded by travel experts and enthusiasts. It’s in our DNA and we remain committed to working with adventurous travel companies, big and small (you can check out some of our work with brands like Expedia and TravelSupermarket here). If the idea of AI-generated content excites you, we’d love to hear from you.

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