In the world of luxury travel, two superpowers currently prevail above all: personalization and intuition. The better a hotel, app, or travel company can respond to users’ needs and desires – and ideally, predict them before they bubble up to the surface – the more likely they are to gain a loyal following.
But it’s not a hotel or travel agency that’s cracking the golden acorn. It’s Google. The tech titan is leveraging its immense artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities to boost its travel offerings, which currently cover everything from flight and hotel search to activity recommendations, destination guides, and mapping services.
Travel tech expert Gillian Morris, founder of airfare search app Hitlist, says this is a space in which Google is uniquely positioned to succeed. “One reason why it’s so hard to innovate and give satisfying experiences in the travel industry is that companies rarely know anything about you; you don’t log in to Kayak or Expedia so that they can learn what you like,” she explains. “Personalization is difficult when you don’t have a clear picture of the traveler. But Google has so much info through your email, flight confirmations—everything—they actually can deliver that magical trip experience.”
The proof is in the pudding. Over the past few months, Google has quietly launched an array of travel-focused features and updates that highlight just how intuitive its AI technology has become. Put them all together and you’ll have enough reason to believe your next travel agent might just be a Google-powered bot.
Here, the game-changing features to look for—or hide from, if you’re more concerned with privacy than being an early adopter.
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