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 04, 2023
An investment exceeding $100 million, the Versailles Tower will feature a new exterior and interior. The renovation will introduce 756 redesigned luxury guestrooms and a pedestrian bridge connecting the Versailles Tower to the existing Paris resort. Caesars Entertainment offers more than 23,000 rooms across Las Vegas, and this renovated tower will showcase some of the finest rooms throughout its nine resorts.
“We know our guests, especially our Caesars Rewards® members, love Paris Las Vegas. Over the past year we’ve made significant enhancements to elevate the destination, bringing new concepts like Vanderpump à Paris, Nobu, The Bedford by Martha Stewart and most recently, a completely renovated sportsbook,” said Sean McBurney, Regional President of Caesars Entertainment. “The addition of the Versailles Tower makes Paris one of the largest resorts in the heart of The Strip. The interior and exterior will be completely reimagined and transformed into some of the best rooms in Las Vegas. When it opens this fall, our guests will have easy access to the incredible restaurants and gaming options they have grown to love at Paris Las Vegas.”
The Versailles Tower will feature some of the largest standard rooms on The Strip, starting at 436 square feet. In addition, select guestrooms will offer new 55-square-foot balconies with unmatched views of The Strip as part of the renovation. The enhanced rooms in the Versailles Tower at Paris Las Vegas are slated for completion in late 2023 with the pedestrian bridge to follow in early 2024.
About Paris Las Vegas
Paris Las Vegas brings the passion and sophistication of the City of Light to the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, transporting guests to Europe's most romantic city. Distinctive for its dramatic 46-story replica Eiffel Tower with a free, nightly light show and authentic architectural reproductions, the resort features more than 2,900 rooms and suites, including Burgundy Rooms. The new Versailles Tower will soon be integrated into Paris Las Vegas, adding 756 redesigned luxury guestrooms to the hotel, with select rooms featuring balconies. The resort offers an 85,000-square-foot casino; the renovated Caesars Race & Sportsbook at Paris Las Vegas; the two-acre Pool à Paris; Las Vegas’ first rooftop bar and grill, BEER PARK, spanning 10,000 square feet; Voie Spa & Salon; two wedding chapels; unique French retail shopping located along the resort’s Le Boulevard District and the opulent nightlife venue Chateau Nightclub & Rooftop. Restaurants include a distinctive array of fine cuisine such as Chef Joho's acclaimed Eiffel Tower Restaurant, French-bistro Mon Ami Gabi and internationally renowned Gordon Ramsay Steak. Paris Las Vegas also offers quick service options like Brioche by Guy Savoy and Bobby’s Burgers by Bobby Flay. Additionally, the resort is home to Lisa Vanderpump’s second Las Vegas venue, Vanderpump à Paris, Nobu restaurant and The Bedford by Martha Stewart. Featuring one of the largest ballrooms in Las Vegas, Paris offers 140,000 square feet of pillarless function space.
globenewswire | May 18, 2023
Mondee Holdings Inc. a technology-driven, next-generation marketplace in a $1 trillion segment of the travel market, today announced the acquisition of Consolid Mexico Holding, S.A.P.I. de C.V. (“Consolid”), a high-growth, leading travel provider based in Mexico with a global presence and an emphasis in Latin America (“LATAM”).
Mondee is already a market leader in North America and is quickly growing its leadership in LATAM. Headquartered in Mexico City, Consolid enjoys a global presence and clientele, with a focus on Mexico, the second largest market in Central and South America, as well as other countries in the region. Mondee’s acquisition of Consolid supports continued expansion in LATAM as it comes on the heels of the acquisitions of Brazil-based Orinter in January 2023 and Interep in May 2023.
Consolid’s 2022 net revenue, which has a large air component, was approximately $8 million, with a 6.8% take rate, and its 2022 adjusted EBITDA was over $1 million. The acquisition was concluded with approximately $4 million in cash, plus an additional future earn-out of cash and shares in Mondee stock with a combined value of up to $5 million to increases in adjusted EBITDA.
With an 18-year operating history, Consolid enjoys a leading business to business to consumer (“B2B2C”) position within the air and ground-arrangement travel markets in Mexico. Consolid serves an estimated 1,000 customers globally, with concentrations in Mexico and LATAM, through its “Consolid” and “Travel Fan” brands.
Following the successful acquisitions of Orinter and Interep, the present acquisition serves to expand the distribution of Consolid's travel content by means of Mondee's vast network of over 55,000 travel affiliates and 125 million closed group members. Furthermore, the acquisition provides Mondee with access to additional regional and local content. The Company intends to leverage its proprietary technology platform and introduce revenue enhancements such as FinTech and ancillary solutions for Consolid customers while optimizing expenses to realize substantial top-line and bottom-line synergies.
Mondee's Chairman, CEO, and Founder, Prasad Gundumogula, stated, "We are thrilled to welcome Consolid's CEO Judith Guerra Aguijosa and experienced management team into the Mondee family and look forward to helping provide their customers with additional products and services. We have every confidence they will continue to grow the business actively within their markets. The recent acquisitions of Orinter, Interep and now Consolid, further reinforce Mondee’s growing market presence in Brazil, Mexico, and throughout the Americas. Our strategy is to continue expanding our footprint in LATAM and other attractive global regions through the acquisition of businesses that complement and synergize with our existing solutions, thereby enhancing our expert-backed experiential content."
Consolid's CEO, Judith Guerra Aguijosa, said, "The entire Consolid team is excited to join the Mondee family and work towards unlocking the global growth potential of our combined offerings and capabilities, with early emphasis in Mexico and more broadly across LATAM. We look forward to leveraging Mondee's cutting-edge technology and industry-leading expertise to enhance our customers' travel experiences. With our shared commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction, we are confident that together we can redefine the travel industry in LATAM and beyond."
About Mondee Holdings, Inc.
Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Austin (Texas), Mondee Holdings, Inc. is a group of notable travel service, technology, and content companies bringing disruptive innovation to the leisure, corporate, and retail travel markets. It provides a groundbreaking technology platform of mobile, SaaS, and cloud products and services to a global customer base, handling over 50 million daily searches and billions of dollars in transactional volume each year. Its network includes more than 50,000 gig economy workers and leisure travel advisors, 500+ airlines, and over one million vacation rentals and hotels.