ChatGPT continues to be the most disruptive technology platform of the year. The generative AI chatbot’s newest addition is plugins that process real-time data for some of the largest business, retail and travel companies. There is now an Expedia plugin that’s rolling out.
What Is The Expedia Plugin For ChatGPT?
Expedia announced the launch of its ChatGPT plugin via Twitter on March 23, 2023. The announcement includes a one-minute video displaying sample queries of researching travel costs and receiving suggestions about which local activities to consider.
First, the script has the user looking for a non-stop flight on Alaska Airlines from Seattle to Puerto Vallarta in April. Within seconds, the chatbot scours the Expedia catalog and recommends a flight by listing the travel details, ticket price and a link to buy the ticket.
In the same dialog, the Expedia plugin recommends family-friendly resorts and local activities following a couple of follow-up questions from the human.
This software integration can make it significantly easier to research travel options and book a trip. Plus, the next-gen language model is more conversational than the standard chatbot that companies use.
It’s also easy to follow along and customize the suggestions. The conversation boxes will highlight these details:
- Highlighted amenities or the best reasons to go here
- Duration of the flight or experience
- Price per ticket
The chatbot analyzes the various search filters, real-time data and code-based calculations to recommend options based on your travel preferences. It will update the suggestions as you provide updates, such as the age of your children or preferred amenities and price ranges or travel times.
Expedia Plugin Vs. The Expedia Website
So, is the plugin or website the most efficient way to research travel options on Expedia?
Both can help you book the following itineraries:
- Car rentals
- Tours and experiences
But you will research the result differently as the plugin automates most of the work while the website and app require selecting search filters and sorting the results by hand.
When The Expedia Plugin Is Better
The plugin will probably be better if you gravitate toward the top suggested itinerary or have limited research time. You may also appreciate the interactive conversation versus navigating a stale computer screen (i.e., how search has been since the early Internet days).
Once the plugin becomes available to the general public, it will probably be more productive for quickly getting flight, lodging and tourism recommendations. In addition, its recommendations will become more accurate as the technology advances and learns from the average user’s behavior and booking preferences.
When The Expedia Website And App Are Better
With that being said, travelers who like researching various options to find the best flight times or who like reading guest reviews may still prefer the Expedia app and website.
Most likely, the booking site will likely look for ways to incorporate the plugin into the platform to assist with the research process so users can enjoy the best features of both.
It’s still too soon to say if using the plugin to book individual itineraries instead of a curated package is more productive. The better option may depend on how you prefer to view and access the recommended travel options.
This new technology helps booking sites rival travel search engines such as Google Flights, which many consider the best place to book flights. But, you will still be limited to the travel options available on Expedia, while competitors let you compare prices directly from the airline and multiple third-party booking sites.
Who Can Use The Expedia Plugin?
Currently, the various ChatGPT plugins are in alpha testing mode and require joining a waitlist to gain access. A ChatGPT Plus subscription ($20/month) can help you receive an invitation sooner, or you can wait for the general public release.
A public launch date hasn’t been announced yet, but its availability can arrive soon as this technology progression is happening quickly.
These plugins are the first time this OpenAI-developed platform has used real-time data. Previously, the chatbot could only research information published through 2021. In March 2023, the developer said users could also start using the chatbot to research more recent information, including details from this year’s Oscar award-winning movies.
In addition to the Expedia plugin, similar products are available for Kayak, OpenTable and Instacart, among other platforms.
So, will AI replace travel agents soon? Not entirely, since agents have real-world experience at destinations. But these chatbots can make a customized flight, hotel and activity itinerary within seconds. The Expedia plugin can make booking your next trip more effortless than the traditional search methods.