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Despegar, Kayak Launched New AI Journey Planners. We Examined Them



Skift Take

The business is getting nearer to the imaginative and prescient of the excellent digital journey agent, but it surely’s nonetheless distant.

Despegar and Kayak each launched journey planning and reserving instruments this week meant to combine generative AI extra comprehensively. 

Advertisement, Expedia, and several other different large firms launched easy chatbots powered by ChatGPT a couple of yr in the past. These chatbots have usually existed as unbiased interfaces, doing little to essentially rework the journey planning and reserving experiences as business specialists have touted.

Whereas the enterprise fashions for Despegar and Kayak are completely different, the brand new instruments give us a greater understanding of how the long run might look. 

Despegar is an internet journey company primarily for the Latin American market. 


Kayak is a metasearch web site owned by Reserving Holdings, which means it compiles choices from varied reserving websites, permitting customers to check charges and navigate to a third-party web site for bookings.

Gonzalo Estebarena, the chief know-how officer of Despegar, mentioned the brand new instrument is the primary model of what he believes would be the way forward for how the Despegar web site operates. He sees the instrument evolving as a digital journey agent that can have the ability to accompany the visitor earlier than, throughout, and after a visit.  

“I feel that finally, this may fully exchange not solely our web site, however I feel this sort of logic … would be the subsequent wave of net or app design,” Estebarena mentioned.


The times are nonetheless early for generative AI, so the know-how within the beta model of those instruments is proscribed. Whereas there aren’t as many errors within the outcomes as AI chatbots from final yr, there are sufficient bugs that in the present day’s customers will doubtless return frustratedly to the Google search bar. 

See some fast checks under on how every of those platforms carry out — the great and the dangerous. 


The instrument at Despegar known as Sofia. It’s in-built Spanish to accommodate its essential clientele. 


The interface features a chatbot panel on the left aspect of the display, which is meant to hook up with the primary portion of the display. 

The consumer can both ask the chatbot a query or choose one of many instructed prompts on the fitting.  

For now, the instrument can share details about a vacation spot in addition to flight choices. The corporate plans to combine all of its merchandise into the instrument subsequent — together with motels, actions, and automobile leases — adopted by connections to third-party merchandise like Uber. 


Another points:

  • The chatbot mentioned it could converse in English, but it surely reverted to Spanish when encountering a difficulty. 
  • The chatbot and the primary display typically don’t join as they’re presupposed to.
  • The chatbot can get “caught” if requested too many questions in the identical dialog, so the consumer would wish to begin over.  


Kayak’s new journey planner known as Ask Kayak.

Customers can begin by asking a wide range of questions on a selected vacation spot or a suggestion about the place to go to. 

When it comes time to buy a flight or keep, Kayak hyperlinks the consumer to the related on-line journey company for reserving. 


Kayak did a superb job of exhibiting flight, lodging, and automobile rental choices for a sure vacation spot, together with different useful options like instruments exhibiting one of the best instances to fly and related vacation spot data.  

It didn’t do properly connecting these choices in response to a immediate about cultural occasions within the subsequent a number of months. It solely confirmed common details about locations and their occasions. Ideally, it could present particular details about when these occasions would happen after which present flight and lodge info based mostly on these dates. 

The chatbot portion of the instrument is powered by ChatGPT and is “introduced as-is and with out verification” by Kayak, based on the web site, which means it’s doubtless restricted in its means to scout the web for up-to-date info on sure matters. 


Another points:

  • The response to a query about upcoming cultural occasions in Berlin gave outcomes for a number of German cities, Berlin included. 
  • This chatbot may get “caught” if requested too many questions in the identical dialog.
  • Clicking on a button to view lodge choices opened a web page that confirmed flight choices. The lodge choices have been in a special tab of the web page that opened.
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