A new AI-powered trip planner from InterContinental Hotels Group to offer personalized travel recommendations

The new IHG Hotels & Resorts Trip Planner mobile app will offer users personalized travel recommendations.

By Lia Mira, RTN Staff Writer – 5.30.2024

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a global leader in the hotel industry, and Google Cloud are expanding a partnership aimed at enhancing customer experiences within the IHG One Rewards mobile app. Leveraging Google Cloud's technologies, IHG reportedly plans to introduce an AI-powered travel planning feature that will enable guests to plan their vacations directly through the app. The feature is part of a suite of new offerings launching in the latter half of this year, aimed at creating a more dynamic digital guest experience.

The new IHG Hotels & Resorts Trip Planner mobile app will offer users personalized travel recommendations. “In collaboration with Google Cloud as our AI innovation partner, our goal is to simplify and improve travel planning for potential travelers,” said Julie Fleming, chief product and technology officer at IHG, in a press statement. “Our personalized trip planner, powered by GenAI, will help customers discover destinations among our 6,000+ IHG hotels across 19 brands in more than 100 countries.”

The IHG One Rewards mobile app will soon serve as a comprehensive mobile travel companion, allowing guests to create a complete itinerary and book a hotel with just a few taps. The travel planner will accommodate both broad and specific requests, from dining options near a specific hotel to whether the hotel allows pets, or event recommendations near the hotel on a specific date.

Investments in the IHG One Rewards mobile app and technology to support IHG's loyalty program are key components of IHG's strategy to increase customer loyalty and engagement. Collaborating with Google Cloud will enable IHG to quickly deploy features that resonate with guests. The travel planner will be developed using Vertex AI, Google Cloud's AI platform, and Google's Gemini models.

Google Cloud became IHG's cloud provider in 2022, when IHG migrated its data components to BigQuery, a fully managed, serverless data warehouse. IHG's decision to use Google Cloud's AI technology for its upcoming Trip Planner feature was influenced by a number of factors, including Google Cloud's suite of AI technologies and Google's broad ecosystem of consumer products and services, which It will enable the creation of personalized experiences for passengers.

IHG continues to explore how secure technology innovation can increase return on investment for hoteliers and enhance guest experiences. According to Kerry Tharp, vice president of strategic industries for Google Cloud, this is the first announcement Google is making about a hospitality company integrating its creative AI tech.

IHG is developing a tool using the Google Cloud Platform to build AI software, Vertex AI, and the AI ​​is derived from Google's proprietary Gemini model. The partnership between the two companies began in 2022 when IHG moved its data components to the Google Cloud database. Google has been instrumental in helping IHG manage its data and form the basis for new innovations.

IHG's long-term vision is to ensure that the tool's core functionality is cost-effective and bug-free, with plans for regular upgrades. The chatbot will be able to answer general and specific questions based on a wealth of information paired with Google's IHG data. There may also be integrations with third-party travel companies for products such as booking events and attractions.

Google Cloud's approach to cybersecurity, data governance, and privacy allows IHG to maintain control over its data and ensure compliance and security standards for data and applications, a key priority for IHG. Google Cloud's responsible and ethical approach to creative AI gives IHG the tools to directly evaluate model responses for suitability and accuracy.

Technology has fueled many new offerings designed to enhance the guest experience. Last September, for example, the company announced the launch of a reimagined digital booking experience for its guests. An enhanced booking experience allows guests to select individual room features and personalize their stay with various enhancements. To date, more than 5,000 hotels offer guests the ability to choose the room attributes that are important to them.

IHG has also invested in redesigning each hotel's website, recognizing that 40% of website traffic originates from these platforms. With more than 80% of IHG hotels already boasting a new website, IHG continues its commitment to fully showcase the diverse offerings available to guests across its 19 brands.

The company has invested more than $300 million in its technology platforms in recent years, including its guest reservation system, the recently enhanced One Rewards mobile app, the all-new IHG.com, brand.com for five brands. websites, and cloud-based data analytics capabilities IHG's partnerships with Apple, Amadeus, PPDS, Groups360, and other leading technology solution providers are key to implementing these next-generation cloud solutions.

These investments have resulted in significant revenue growth in North America and Europe. Looking ahead, IHG will continue its journey of technology innovation, continuously improving its technology and adding new functionality.

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