Booking.com dips toe in waters of attraction tickets, under the guise of AI platform
Booking.com has finally carried out a pilot project of a new service on its mobile app, providing search and booking of tours, activities and attractions.
Booking.com has finally moved into the complex world of tours and activities with the pilot of a new service on its mobile app.
Until now, the Priceline Group-operated hotel giant has worked with the likes of GetYouGuide to supply booked hotel guests with an email shot listing things to do in a destination (with links off to a co-branded page to make a booking).
But this week the company has given details of a pilot project in its hometown of Amsterdam to make a concerted effort to start providing search and booking of tours, activities and attractions.
Inevitably, Booking.com has used the 2016 trend-of-the-moment to test the initiative – a mobile-based, artificial intelligence platform that sits within its Android or iOS applications.
Booking Experiences, at least in terms of the pilot project, works in a different to traditional marketplaces for tours and activities.
The company says:
“Once travellers have booked a stay in one of the first cities to offer Booking Experiences, via a single QR code in the Booking.com app a traveller can get instant booking access to all of the participating venues and attractions in that destination.
“Booking Experiences eliminates the need to book in advance or wait in lines to buy tickets— simply show up to the attraction you’re interested in, scan the code from your smartphone and enjoy.
“The QR code is automatically linked to your credit card of choice.”
The AI element of the platform comes into play by combining feedback from users about a destination with a customer’s previous travel preferences and where a person physically is within a specific destination.
Third-party data, such as the current waiting times at popular attractions, is also included so that the platform will eventually learn over time to provide a user with “personalised, relevant and timely suggestions” during the actual visit in a destination.
The pilot launches for Booking Experiences, after Amsterdam, will be Paris, London and Dubai by the end of July, with New York City expected to go live during the autumn of this year.
Where Booking.com is yet to define how the project will work once it gets to scale is how the platform is sourcing the product inventory.
An official says the company is building some direct relationships with venues, but is also currently testing and exploring relationships with partners, “to see what works well to help us create the best possible product”.
Booking.com sister company Kayak recently introduced tours and activities to its portfolio of services alongside its usual flight, hotel and car rental channels, bringing in content from both Viator andGetYourGuide.
Here are some screen shots:
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