Turbulence or tranquility: Consumer insights on AI's contributions to travel arrangements
August 31st, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

Turbulence or tranquility: Consumer insights on AI's contributions to travel arrangements

In recent months, artificial intelligence's (AI) ability to revolutionize daily life has been at the center of public conversation, and travel companies are getting in on the action. While American travel tech giant Expedia launched the Beta phase of an in-app travel planner powered by OpenAI's ChatGPT, companies like Priceline, Airbnb, and Bookings.com have all signaled their interest in integrating AI to enhance the consumer experience. But do consumers think AI will make things better or worse? Do they believe AI can make activities like planning a trip or booking air travel better in the next five years?

According to a recent YouGov Surveys: Serviced poll across 18 international markets, more than two out of five global consumers believe that AI will make the experience of diagnosing medical conditions (43%) and building a travel itinerary (42%) better in the next five years. While slightly more than a third of global respondents say the same about booking or rebooking air travel (36%), generating or summarizing news content (35%), and providing customer service (34%), only a quarter feel the same way when it comes to managing personal finances (25%).

A closer look at those consumers who believe AI will have a positive impact on their travel planning and booking activities over the next five years, by region, reveals some interesting differences. 

Significantly outpacing the global average, three out of five consumers in the UAE say that AI can make building a travel itinerary better in the next five years (60%). 

More than half of consumers across most APAC markets share the same opinion – except for consumers in Australia, where only about a third of consumers feel the same way (30%).

While 54% of Mexicans feel that AI will make it easier to build a travel itinerary, less than two-fifths of consumers in Canada (37%) and less than a quarter of Americans (23% - the lowest of all regions) agree. 

Consumers across European markets share similarly scattered views. More than half of respondents in Spain and Italy say AI can make things better when it comes to planning travel (55% and 52% respectively), compared to less than two out five Danes (39%) and Germans (35%) and less than a third of Britons (28%). 

Much like in the case of building a travel itinerary, consumers in the UAE also outpace the global average when asked if AI can make the experience of booking or rebooking travel better in the next five years (61%). 

Following closely behind, more than half of consumers in the APAC markets of India (56%), Indonesia (53%) and Hong Kong (53%), agree.

Interestingly, consumers are significantly less likely to believe that AI can make it easier to book air travel than to build a travel itinerary when it comes to some European markets like Spain (39% vs. 55%), Sweden (32% vs. 44%) and France (25% vs. 42%).

Americans are once again, the least likely of all to believe in AI’s ability to make the experience of booking air travel better in the next five years, with less than one out of five saying so (19%).

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