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Reimagining Destination Discovery for the Age of AI

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Skift Take

With generative AI’s ability to understand human language, Marriott and Publicis Sapient were able to explore the idea of connecting the dots for a curious traveler’s mind for the first time.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

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In this video: 

  • Addressing the “tyranny of the search box”: Traditional travel search forces all the heavy lifting onto customers, requiring them to know exactly where and when they want to travel before they can look for options. Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy (Marriott) and Publicis Sapient worked together to reframe the concept of travel search by starting a conversation with customers about what they want to do, even if they don’t know yet where they want to go.
  • Thinking outside the chatbots: Travel searches are inherently visual, and a chatbot’s text-based interface could not adequately capture this richness of experience. Recognizing these limitations, and the fact that travelers tend to associate chatbots with customer service rather than discovery, Marriott and Publicis Sapient decided to pivot from their initial plan to solve this issue with an AI chatbot and focus on a more engaging, visually oriented AI search tool. 
  • Enabling innovation at large organizations: There’s a stereotype that innovation and disruption primarily come from start-ups that have the ability to “fail fast.” This successful collaboration proved that a willingness to experiment built on a foundation of trust and joint objectives enables rapid and effective innovation at companies of all sizes. 

Generative AI has upended the paradigm of travel search, giving travel companies the ability to have two-way conversations with their customers. This approach enhances user experience by making the search process more intuitive and aligned with guests’ desires, moving beyond the limitations of traditional search boxes. 

A conversation at the 2024 Skift Data + AI Summit in New York City between Nitin Sood, vice president of innovation and HVMB product, Marriott, Ed Vanga, vice president of product management for artificial intelligence, Publicis Sapient, and Jeremy Kressmann, head of studio, SkiftX, explored an initiative to leverage generative AI to power the Homes & Villas by Marriott recommendations engine. 

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With generative AI’s ability to understand human language, Marriott and Publicis Sapient were able to explore the idea of connecting the dots for a curious traveler’s mind for the first time. The result? A forward-thinking example of the future of AI travel search and proof of concept for game-changing innovation from major industry players. 

This content was created collaboratively by Publicis Sapient and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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