Expedia and Kayak Add ChatGPT Plugins to Enhance Travel Planning

Skift Take

The connection between ChatGPT and the data from Expedia and Kayak paves the way to access the real power of generative AI. So far, it’s just been a gimmick.

Expedia Group and Booking Holdings’ Kayak have released plugins to help users make bookings based on travel planning suggestions from ChatGPT. 

The plugins allow users to engage a ChatGPT chatbot for travel suggestions, but rather than just getting generic suggestions in return — a limit until now with ChatGPT — users can be presented with up-to-date info and links for booking on the respective websites.  

The plugins are only available to certain ChatGPT Plus users at the moment, but more access will be rolled out in the future, as outlined in a blog post on Thursday by OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.

Watch Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali expound on these developments here. 

Expedia and Kayak are among the first companies that have been given plugin access. More will be given access later. In the meantime, others can join the waitlist.

Expedia shared a demo of how the plugin will operate. After users get suggestions, they are referred to Expedia, where they can log in and view personalized options.

Expedia said in an email to Skift that it’s always experimenting with ways different types of AI and machine learning can enhance the travel experience for users. The chief technology officers of Expedia and Booking made similar comments during calls earlier this month. 

“Large language models like ChatGPT give travelers another way to start planning a trip and we can help bring that dream trip to life — how to get there by air or car, where to stay that’s available and right for their budget or personal preferences, and what to see and do that fits with a suggested itinerary,” Expedia said in an email. 

Connecting plugins to these other companies gives OpenAI, on the other hand, access to more information that it can use to further strengthen and train its technology.

This is a big step toward how generative AI could revolutionize the way users plan and book travel. Efforts so far to use ChatGPT for travel booking have not been very useful

“By integrating explicit access to external data — such as up-to-date information online, code-based calculations, or custom plugin-retrieved information — language models can strengthen their responses with evidence-based reference,” OpenAI said in the blog post Thursday. 

This plugin announcement comes just a couple of days after Google finally released Bard to the public, meaning Bard is now another big step behind its competitor.

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