Expedia CEO looks to AI to ‘recalibrate’ reliance on Google

AI For Business

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The travel industry has long wanted something to compete with Big Tech’s priorities. We don’t know for sure, but generative AI could make it happen this time.

— Denise Schaar

Executives such as Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern and Chairman Barry Diller have long denounced Google’s dominance in travel advertising, but now Kern is embracing generative AI companies and other emerging technologies. The hope is that with the advent of , it may become less dependent.

“The world of travel is ruled by Google’s funnel and all these potential ideas have the potential to rebalance the market, which is a good thing,” Khan told India’s economic daily on Friday. “We all want to reduce our reliance on one big tech player and spread it out to other big tech players,” he said in an interview published in the Economic Times. become direct consumers and [Expedia] app. “

In our interviews, we touched on issues ranging from generative AI to robust travel demand that Expedia sees despite inflation and other concerns.

Expedia itself has been particularly active in emerging generative AI technologies, debuting a chatbot powered by OpenAI ChatGPT in the Expedia mobile app last week and becoming an OpenAI plugin partner in March. travel industry.

The travel industry has long hoped that start-ups will dethrone Google and reduce the need to spend a lot of money on Google to acquire customers.

The emergence of OpenAI, a new breed of startups, and perhaps companies that don’t even exist today could make it happen, but disappointment was also common.

For example, by 2016 hotel chains like Marriott, Accor, Best Western, Wyndham, Choice, Hyatt and Radisson signed up for TripAdvisor’s instant booking feature. website.

In theory, if the hotel had been able to acquire customers using the more powerful TripAdvisor, it wouldn’t have had to spend so much advertising money on Google. Ultimately, TripAdvisor abandoned the initiative after not getting the traction they wanted with instant booking.

The emergence of generative AI is at an unprecedented pace in the tech world, but it has the potential to be much more widespread and platform disruptive than a single company, TripAdvisor, starting booking. feature. So while this comparison is flawed, Kern hopes that rearranging the technology hierarchy will be a consistent thread.

Amid the rapid changes happening in search, the Bing app enables voice-based search powered by OpenAI, saying, “This new language model is more powerful than ChatGPT and [is] Customized for search. Bing’s parent company, Microsoft, is a major investor in OpenAI.

But if Khan and others in the travel industry expect the advent of generative AI to recalibrate their relationship with Google in the world of tech platforms, Google’s efforts should come early. It cannot be dismissed.

Experts almost unanimously consider Google’s generative AI entry, Bard, to be inferior to ChatGPT, but these are in their very early stages and Google is devoting enormous technical resources to competing. I have.

Photo credit: Expedia is looking to reorder its technology platform. Pictured is his Expedia Group CEO Peter Kahn at the Skift Global Forum in Manhattan on September 21, 2022.Source: Skift

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