There’s been a lot of buzz about AI in travel, so we’re going to ask CEOs about it on stage for everyone to see.
Artificial intelligence has been a major discussion in travel over the last year, and that’s why the theme of the Skift Global Forum is Connection in the Age of AI.
Attendees can plan to hear insights about how AI is shaping travel from some of the biggest names in the industry.
The conference takes place in New York on September 26-28, with plenty of chances for networking in between sessions and during happy hour receptions.
Below are a few highlights of where to expect discussion about generative AI.
Airbnb and Uber
Airbnb and Uber are two of the biggest consumer brands in travel, and each of their chief executives has been vocal about how the companies are using generative AI today as well as how the tech could shape their future.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has been one of the most vocal leaders on the topic. He said during an interview with Skift CEO Rafat Ali last May, “Basically, the short answer is next May, you’re going to see a whole new Airbnb. AI’s going to be at the center of it.”
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said AI could improve user personalization by tracking preferences such as favorite types of cars, among other uses. Ali will discuss AI and more in sessions with Chesky and Khosrowshahi on the final day of the conference.
Travel Search and Booking
Big companies like Expedia Group and Booking Holdings have gotten the biggest headstarts on releasing tools around generative AI because of the massive resources at their disposal.
Expedia, Kayak, and OpenTable were among the first cohort to announce plugins on ChatGPT Plus. Expedia released a ChatGPT-powered tool in April and is planning updates, while Priceline and Booking.com released Google-powered tools on their respective apps in late June.
Executives from both companies, and others, have spoken publicly about how advancements in AI could change travel search and booking. And a recent internal email from Expedia reportedly said the company wants to, “Build the world’s most loved AI powered travel apps.”
Expedia CEO Peter Kern and Booking CEO Glenn Fogel will discuss the future of AI, among other topics, in sessions moderated by Skift Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Attendees will also hear from Nelson Boyce, managing director of travel for Google, and Hopper CEO Frederic Lalonde.
Startups and Innovation
Numerous travel startups have popped up in the past year with a focus on leveraging the latest advancements in AI. Some other startups and businesses are refocusing resources so they can take advantage as well.
Many are releasing their first products related to generative AI, and some of them are starting to raise money.
As entrepreneurs and investors, Jason Calacanis, Brad Gerstner, and Greg O’Hara are on the frontlines of some of the latest innovations at startups and other companies. They’ll share what they’re seeing during sessions moderated by Skift CEO Rafat Ali.
AI could improve efficiency in a number of hotel operations, one of several topics up for discussion with hotel execs at the conference.
Among those, it could make room pricing more profitable. There are also more technologies being released meant to more efficiently read and respond to emails, optimize employee schedules and restaurant menus, answer guest questions through a chatbot, analyze reviews, and more.
Companies like Microsoft and Amadeus are working to help hotel and other travel companies discover ways they could implement generative AI.
Hospitality Senior Editor Sean O’Neil plans to discuss the topic with hotel execs including Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian and Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta.