Survey Finds ChatGPT Itineraries to be ‘Riddled with Inaccuracies’

May 17, 2024
International Trends & Research

In the age of artificial intelligence (AI) revolutionising various industries, from healthcare to finance, it was only a matter of time before it made its mark in the travel sector. Enter ChatGPT, touted as the next big thing in travel planning. However, recent findings from a survey conducted by digital marketing agency SEO Travel have shed light on a concerning reality: ChatGPT generated itineraries may not be as reliable as they seem.

The survey, which aimed to assess the accuracy of ChatGPT generated travel itineraries, delivered a startling revelation, 90% of the itineraries examined were found to be inaccurate. These inaccuracies ranged from recommending restaurants or attractions that were permanently closed to suggesting impossible schedules and incorrect opening hours.

SEO Travel's research involved requesting ChatGPT to create 10 two-day itineraries for each of 10 popular city destinations worldwide, including cities such as London, Paris, and New York. Upon analysing the results, researchers discovered a concerning pattern of errors that made the majority of the itineraries unreliable.

One of the most alarming findings was that one in four itineraries recommended establishments that had either temporarily or permanently closed their doors. Examples included Berlin's renowned Pergamon Museum, closed until 2026, and Café Einstein, which shut down last year (2023). Furthermore, over half of the itineraries suggested visiting attractions, cafes, or restaurants outside of their operating hours, effectively setting tourists up for disappointment.

Additionally, a significant portion of the itineraries (30%) included dining options at Michelin-starred restaurants, despite their high costs. Meanwhile, one in four itineraries forced travellers to backtrack or take unnecessary detours, such as recommending a 12-mile diversion for breakfast in Dubai, an impractical and time-consuming suggestion.

Tom McLoughlin, director of SEO Travel, highlighted the motivation behind the research, stating, “We conducted the research after a survey revealed as many as two-thirds of travellers expect to use AI to research or plan travel in the future.” McLoughlin emphasised the importance for smaller travel companies to exercise caution when adopting AI tools, warning against overreliance on their capabilities.

He stressed the value of personalised recommendations and the expertise of travel professionals, qualities that AI tools like ChatGPT may lack. McLoughlin urged travel operators and agents to communicate their unique strengths in providing tailored guidance and insights, emphasising the important role they play in a landscape increasingly dominated by AI technology.

The survey utilised ChatGPT 3.5, the latest version launched amidst significant acclaim in November 2022. However, despite the fanfare surrounding its release, the survey findings underscore the importance of cautiously evaluating the reliability and accuracy of AI-driven solutions in the travel industry.

As travellers continue to seek efficient and personalised planning experiences, the onus falls on both AI developers and travel professionals to collaborate in delivering solutions that prioritise accuracy, reliability, and the human touch. In a world where AI becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the ability to offer authentic, personalised experiences remains the hallmark of exceptional visitor satisfaction. (Source - SEO Travel)


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