For professionals, ChatGPT presents several opportunities. For example, it can be used by a tourism office to search for and compile all the must-see sites in its area. Airlines, hotels, and rental agencies can use it to provide their agents with a wider range of answers to various questions. The tool can also be used as a travel assistant by travel professionals. Leading the way, alongside Kayak, the flight and airfare price comparison platform, is the TMC Navan, Trip.com, and numerous companies on the waiting list to test the ChatGPT plugin, the American travel company Expedia was the first in the industry to install a ChatGPT plugin. Additionally, with the launch of the test phase of a new travel planning experience in collaboration with ChatGPT on their mobile application, individuals with an Expedia account can have an open conversation to seek advice on their upcoming trips. That’s not all! By installing the plugin, Expedia claims to simplify the booking process, assist customers in emergency situations, and even enhance its ability to detect fraudulent activities. « By integrating ChatGPT into the Expedia app and combining it with our other AI-based shopping features, such as hotel comparison, flight price tracking, and travel collaboration tools, we can now offer travelers an even more intuitive way to create their perfect trip, » says Peter Kern, Vice President and CEO of Expedia Group. Expedia guarantees a « smart shopping » experience.

Will AI replace travel agents? This is the question on the minds of internet users. Among the professions that may disappear with the expansion of AI, customer service agents are at risk, especially since OpenAI claims it can replace 5 million jobs in the United States alone. In France, ChatGPT could address the issue of a shortage of staff in travel agencies. Even though it is still in its testing phase, with the help of AI, Expedia has already assisted over 30 million travelers and saved 8 million hours of work for agents.

However, it is essential to emphasize that despite the advantages offered by artificial intelligence and tools like ChatGPT, humans retain a crucial role in the tourism industry. Travelers often appreciate the personal interaction, warmth, and expertise of a travel agent. These professionals can offer personalized advice, understand the specific needs of travelers, and provide a human dimension that cannot be fully replicated by AI. Therefore, while AI technologies like ChatGPT can improve the efficiency and convenience of travel processes, it is crucial to strike a balance between automation and human interaction to provide a comprehensive and satisfying travel experience.

Questions related to user data usage and privacy protection must also be considered. ChatGPT continuously collects and analyzes users’ personal data. Users must be aware of potential risks and take steps to protect their privacy when interacting with AI technologies. Businesses must comply with data protection regulations and be transparent about how data is used, stored, and shared. By integrating strong security and privacy protocols and providing clear options for data consent and control, companies can build user trust and promote responsible and ethical use of AI in the travel and tourism sector.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that ChatGPT remains limited in its ability to verify the accuracy of online information and may have bugs. Furthermore, its limitations in accessing data, especially in its free version, which does not have access to data beyond 2021, should not be forgotten.

Like any digital advancement, ChatGPT will indeed profoundly change our ways of working. Some professions may disappear, while others will emerge. In any case, the promises of efficiency and simplicity offered by the tool seem to indicate that ChatGPT has great potential to be the future of the travel and tourism industry, without neglecting the importance of human interaction. It’s up to industry players to reinvent themselves: online travel agencies (OTAs) did not kill traditional travel agencies but forced them to enhance their value-added services. The travel agent profession is alive and well today!

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