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Google’s new search is causing changes in the tourism industry


Dr. Stefan Ebener, from Google Germany, gave a presentation on “Generative AI” at an event at ITB Berlin on what travel planning will look like in the near future.

Through video, attendees were able to experience a Google search (in a few months) that is fundamentally different from what they have experienced so far: a search that is both interactive and multimodal. “Within a few months this new Google search will be accessible worldwide,” revealed Dr Ebener and predicted that the impact on the travel sector will be huge.

“Searches will be done primarily using images, through Google image search and using photos on Instagram,” explained Dr. Ebener. This process will also change tourism marketing: compelling and convincing visual offers, especially in the form of photos and videos, are key to attracting new visitors.

Another trend is that of the super-personalised travel assistant, capable of handling a variety of resources, providing useful support before and during the trip.

At the booking stage, such assistants can ask and carry out specific requests, for example in the case of travel with young children. Where there are doubts, they can also use a video recording to establish, for example, whether accident damage to a rented car is covered by insurance.

Key to many of these is Google’s new Gemini AI, which can be used by accommodation providers, for example, to automatically generate video-based building descriptions. It has become possible to train the software to respond to the needs of its customers in a way that is precisely tailored to specific target groups.

Dr. Ebener explained that one should think of an AI system in the same way as an intern who has recently joined the company. The latter may be highly qualified and well-informed about the world, but initially has no idea what the company actually does and how to serve the needs of customers. However, once the AI has been instructed, it becomes an extremely effective tool.

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