Generative AI Revolutionizes Summer Travel Planning: Report

Generative AI Revolutionizes Summer Travel Planning: Report

Generative AI is changing how people plan vacations! A new report finds that 41% of North Americans use AI for trip inspiration and booking, potentially boosting online travel agencies by 2029.

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly gained traction in leisure travel, transforming how consumers approach vacation planning just in time for summer, according to a new report from consulting firm Oliver Wyman, a business of Marsh McLennan.

The report, titled, Why Generative AI Is a Game Changer for Leisure Travel found that 41% of Americans and Canadians surveyed have used generative AI for either trip inspiration or itinerary planning, an increase from 34% in August 2023Oliver Wyman’s analysis found that online travel agencies (OTAs) could increase their booking share of the US online travel market by up to 17 percentage points by 2029 if travel suppliers continue to forgo investment in generative AI capabilities. This potential shift could result in OTAs reaping an incremental $2 billion-plus in commissions from suppliers.

“Consumers are avoiding two major pain points when using generative AI for travel planning– information overload and the time spent navigating multiple sources for inspiration and planning for travel that meets their needs,” said Lawrence Burka, a principal in Oliver Wyman’s Transportation and Services and Pricing, Sales, and Marketing practices. “However, travel brands have been relatively slow in developing customer-facing generative AI tools. This presents a missed opportunity for travel brands to enhance customer loyalty, incentivize direct bookings, and offer personalized recommendations to expand itineraries.”

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Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Happy Travelers – For travelers who used generative AI tools, 82% are likely to use them again to make travel plans in the future. Generative AI has particularly resonated with younger travelers, with 59% of those under 45 utilizing these tools for travel planning. However, 31% of travelers who are 45 years old and older also use it. Additionally, over three-quarters of consumers are happy with the travel recommendations provided by generative AI tools, with high conversion rates for booking the AI-suggested trip option.
  • Amenities and Add-Ons—Of the more than 90% of recent users who booked generative AI-produced travel plans, many followed through with booking specific activities (44%) and dining suggestions (43%) recommended by the tool.
  • Loyalty – Travel brand loyalty members have shown a strong affinity for generative AI, with 45% of elite loyalty members using it recently to plan trips. The survey also revealed that generative AI is popular among cruisers, with 54% of respondents who had taken at least one cruise since 2022 recently using it for travel planning.