Travelers Aren’t Using Trip-Planning Apps – What Gives?



Skift Take

Hotel guests are still asking the concierge for ideas on what to do – but hotels can be more than a place to sleep.

Why aren’t we using trip-planning apps? Instead, Google Maps and Google Calendar are the most popular trip-planning tools in the world, according to Gilad Berenstein, founder at Brook Bay Capital. 

“I am as passionate about trip planning as anyone, but we still have not proven that there’s actually consumer demand around using a purpose built tool,” Berenstein said at Skift’s Data+AI Summit on Tuesday. “Trip planning is a nebulous term, and it has a lot of stuff in it, right? So the serendipity of discovering that great hidden gem is something fun. Optimizing geography across 22 stops in New York City is not fun.” 

According to a survey earlier this year by Skift Research, 78% of American travelers have not used ChatGPT or another AI-based app to plan their trips, and 37% were not even interested in trying.

The problem may be in the fragmentation of the industry and a lack of shared information. Industry leaders have been working for years on how to exchange customer data between potentially competing companies so that the traveler has a smoother experience, but the problem hasn’t really been solved yet.

The hotel industry, for example, needs to move to more journey orchestration than simply providing a place to sleep. “When I’m in the hotel, present me with content that’s relevant to me while I’m at the hotel so I can make a better decision on my journey,” Berenstein said.

Right now, to get suggestions of what to do in a city at night, you have to ask the concierge. “How do we move into this digital journey? And how do you do that in a way where high tech and high touch come together in a meaningful way for the consumer? Because travel is a little bit of, you’re on your own.” 

“I think we can change, but it’s going to require all of us working together,” Berenstein said. “How do we get people who are competitors in many aspects to work together? Because if we actually have a connected trip, if we actually have this single source of truth, we are all better off.”



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