DESTINATION AND TOURISM
geekwire | April 06, 2023
For many travelers, technology long ago supplanted travel agents for the basic booking of flights, hotels, and excursions. But how quickly will artificial intelligence replace humans for trusted travel advice?
That’s the larger question behind Expedia’s announcement this morning that it will offer a new “travel planning experience” powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Debuting today on Expedia’s iOS app, it’s part of a growing wave of AI-powered travel- and trip-planning technologies from a variety of startups and app developers.
Travel advice is already one of the most commonly cited scenarios for people using ChatGPT in its raw form or in Microsoft’s Bing search engine, for example. However, Expedia’s significant presence in travel makes this rollout especially interesting as a gauge of AI’s potential to serve in a role traditionally left to human expertise.
One of the ways Expedia is trying to differentiate its ChatGPT implementation is by automatically saving hotels discussed during a chat session to a “trip” in the app to make it easier to book a stay.
This capability will expand later to other forms of reservations, including flights and rental cars, Expedia CTO Rathi Murthy told the Wall Street Journal.
On the topic of privacy, Expedia won’t share customer data with OpenAI from ChatGPT searches in the app, but it may use the data in the future to further personalize the experience, Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern told the WSJ.
For now, Expedia is classifying the initial feature on iOS as a beta, which means it’s not necessarily ready for prime time.
For example, Lance Ulanoff reports on TechRadar this morning that he encountered a bug in which the app didn’t save his preferred hotel after he tested the chat function to plan a hypothetical family vacation.
Expedia says it will “rapidly evolve the experience” based on how people use it.
“It’s also important to remember that while many measures have been taken to limit inaccurate results and inappropriate responses, at times the experience may not work exactly as expected,” the company adds. “Feedback from both our employees and all those using the experience will be continually looked at to make sure responses meet our standards.”
In other words, your mileage may vary, perhaps literally.
Ultimately, this rollout promises to be an important test for this emerging era of generative AI. Just be sure to double-check its accuracy in the meantime before spending thousands on a trip to Europe.
About Expedia Group
At Expedia Group we believe that travel is a force for good it opens minds, builds connections, and bridges divides. We create transformative tech that fuels partner growth while enabling unforgettable experiences for all travelers, everywhere. Our trusted family of brands are known and loved by millions, and we power more trips than anyone else. To learn more about our vision of a more open world through travel, visit www.expediagroup.com.
businesswire | May 05, 2023
Life House has been selected to manage two more hotels in California - Hotel Royal in Long Beach and Hotel La Rose in Sonoma County. Life House now operates seven hotels throughout California. Both owners faced similar challenges prior to switching to Life House, including fatigue keeping up with the day-to-day operations and a heavy reliance on expensive OTAs, all while desiring to preserve their connection to the property.
Hotel La Rose, a landmark 48-key property in the heart of Santa Rosa, has been welcoming travelers for over 100 years. The owners were attracted to Life House's ability to enhance their hotel's profitability while allowing them to devote more time to their other businesses. For the hotel’s owners, Lukhbir Gill, Hardeep Gill and Jim McCalligan, preserving the historic charm and unique character that had been cultivated through a century of heartfelt operations was very important.
“We wanted to free up our time, but deeply care about Hotel La Rose and the special experience our guests have enjoyed for so many years. Therefore, we could never see it being flagged,” said Hardeep Gill. “Life House is the perfect solution to operate this historic asset in a very sophisticated manner to optimize profitability, whilst maintaining the specialness & extraordinary charm.”
Hotel Royal, a 1923 Art Deco boutique hotel in Long Beach’s trendy East Village Arts District, had just celebrated its 100 year anniversary when the owner Victor Beauchamp retained Life House to take over management. “I had spent 20 years renovating and building our unique brand,” Beauchamp shared. “I was exhausted and needed help but couldn’t allow our family legacy to become just another corporate hotel. Life House’s personalized approach really appealed to us as a chance to maximize performance and compete with bigger, better resourced hotel brands while retaining what we love most about our property.”
This is a familiar tale for independent hotel owners who pour their heart into their properties but have difficulty keeping up with technological advances and increasing operational complexity. From transition through ongoing management, Life House’s partners have a dedicated Asset Manager who liaises with 140+ corporate experts within all pillars of hospitality operations, ensuring that the hotels employ best-in-class systems & processes at all times.
The owners of both Hotel Royal and Hotel La Rose were encouraged by the 258% increase in NOI versus pre-Life House management that was experienced by a historic property in close proximity to Hotel La Rose. Life House boosted revenue and decreased operating expenses by automating back-of-house functions, increasing profitability without adversely affecting the guest experience.
The Management Agreements for both properties were executed early this year. With an efficient transition process, they have both already launched under Life House management.
We are excited to partner with the owners of these special hotels, as they seek to spend their time in more meaningful ways,” said Rami Zeidan, Founder & CEO of Life House. “We’re excited to continue growing in California as there is an abundance of quaint independent hotels with similar attributes to the many hotels we’ve helped on the East Coast.”
About Life House
Life House is a vertically integrated hotel management & technology company focused on serving small and medium independent hotels with institutional quality service. Life House uses advanced software & operating systems to increase profitability and reliability for independent hotels throughout North America. Life House was founded in 2017 by real estate, hospitality, and technology veterans and is backed by world renowned private equity and venture investors. The company is ambitiously investing in its operational systems to make hotels far more profitable, predictable, and seamless for owners.
businesswire | May 29, 2023
Interval International, a leading worldwide provider of vacation services, welcomes Multivacaciones Decameron to its coveted collection of affiliated hospitality brands. The agreement introduces 27 hotels and resorts across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Mexico to Interval’s growing exchange network of over 3,200 properties. Nearly 200,000 Multivacaciones Decameron members will have the opportunity to access Interval’s numerous travel and leisure benefits, including the ability to exchange for stays at resorts in more than 90 countries and territories.
Decameron’s hotels are located in the region’s alluring beaches, jungles, mountains and cities. Its vacation club, with members in Latin America and abroad, provides memorable experiences along with the relaxation that comes with its attractive all-inclusive concept.
In a recent survey, over two-thirds of Interval’s Latin America-based members stated they are likely to book an all-inclusive vacation, making the addition of Decameron’s hotels and resorts an exciting opportunity for vacationers seeking the perfect balance of comfort and entertainment in their own region.
“Multivacaciones Decameron is pleased to work with Interval to offer even more flexibility to our members,” says Fabio Villegas, president of Decameron Hotels and Resorts. “Interval’s elevated standards and commitment to quality meet our members’ expectations for their well-deserved vacations. Additionally, Interval’s network of resorts in the world’s most desirable destinations aligns perfectly with their travel goals. We are excited to continue our collaborations as we further strengthen the value proposition for our members through new exceptional benefits.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Multivacaciones Decameron to the Interval portfolio. Their strong presence and solid reputation in the region make them a standout in our network,” says Marcos Agostini, Interval’s senior vice president of global sales and business development. “Not only does affiliating with Interval provide an enhanced vacation experience with exchange and year-round lifestyle and leisure benefits, but it also creates an incredible opportunity for Interval’s worldwide members to discover Decameron resorts.”
New Multivacaciones Decameron purchasers will be enrolled as Interval Gold® or Interval Platinum® members with access to several upgraded benefits including Interval Options®; the ability to use points toward a hotel stay, cruise or experiential travel; ShortStay Exchange® for long weekends and midweek resort vacations; savings on Getaway vacation rentals; dining and leisure discounts, special deals on select hotel bookings, and VIP ConciergeSM, for personal assistance, 24/7.
About Interval International
Interval International operates membership programs for vacationers and provides value-added services to its developer clients worldwide. Based in Miami, Florida, the company has been a pioneer and innovator in serving the vacation ownership market since 1976. Today, Interval's exchange network comprises over 3,200 resorts in more than 90 countries and territories. Through offices in 12 countries, Interval offers world-class products and benefits to resort clients and nearly 1.6-million-member families who are enrolled in various membership programs. Interval is an operating business of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: VAC), a leading global vacation company that offers vacation ownership, exchange, rental and resort and property management, along with related businesses, products, and services.