While A.I. bots are far from ubiquitous, their growing presence in American homes is undeniable. According a recent Destination Analysts’ The State of the American Traveler Survey, over 15 percent of travelers report having used such an artificial intelligent assistant device to plan their trips in the past year, up from 13.3% one year ago. Younger travelers are clearly the most active users of these high-tech assistants.
Q: In the PAST 12 MONTHS, have you used a device like Amazon Echo or Google Home for travel planning?
As our reliance on this technology’s ability to quickly disseminate information and answer burning questions such as, “How tall is Shaq?” increases—it begs the question, what role will these devices play in the travel space? As our industry ponders this greater question, Destination Analysts set out to answer a simpler question: Is Alexa or Google Home the better travel planning assistant?
How we answered the question: In an open forum at this year’s eTourism summit we pitted two travelers against each other; one avid Google Home user and one Alexa advocate. Our participants brought in their own devices and each were tasked with completing three different travel planning assignments: 1. Gather inspiration for a travel destination 2. Find information on a specific destination they wanted to visit and 3. Book travel or accommodations for an upcoming trip. At the end of this fearsome bout, the unequivocal champion was Google Home. Alexa repeatedly failed to provide accurate responses to simple queries, meanwhile Google spouted useful and actionable information without skipping a beat. You can read more about the Battle of the Bots in The Travel Vertical’s article here: https://thetravelvertical.com/2018/10/16/expedia-launches-action-for-google-assistant/
The applications of this new digital medium are continually evolving. As we look to the future it will be interesting to see how marketers take advantage of this platform to get their message in front of these tech conscious consumers. Destination Analysts will be tracking these trends and sharing our findings in later editions of The State of the American Traveler so stay tuned!