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Ever feel like going on a holiday but have no idea where to go? Marriott Bonvoy’s new generative AI tool can save the day.  

Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy is now testing a search engine that incorporates AI, allowing travellers to find their ideal home and destination.

Basically, all you need to do is type your preferences in the search bar, and the site will match you to a range of options from its list of 140,000 available properties on the Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy platform.

This feature is expected to become widely available to all visitors first on the website and then on the mobile app in the coming weeks. Of course, visitors will still have the option to use the traditional search functionality.

The search with AI tool was developed in collaboration with Publicis Sapient, a software company based in Massachusetts, USA.

“Using the latest technologies, our new AI search tool breaks new ground among vacation rental platforms by allowing travellers to search without a specific destination,” said Jennifer Hsieh, Vice President, Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy.

Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy is a global home rental offering launched in 2019. It seeks to bring Marriott’s 90+ years of hospitality expertise to the home rental market, focusing on the premium and luxury tier of rental homes.

Ensuring that every listed home is on par with their standards, Marriott works with select property management companies to curate its list of properties.

Testing it out

Some sample prompts provided in the press release include:

  • I want to travel to London, Paris, or Vienna and stay in the city centre  
  • Best A-frame home in the mountains with a fireplace and stunning view 
  • I want to take a trip to California this summer where I can bring my dog
  • I’m looking for a private villa in Asia for six people with a butler 
  • I need a beachfront home in the Caribbean perfect for a bachelorette celebration

To start, I searched for “an affordable destination with great views, good food, and suitable for me and my three colleagues.”

The top pick was a place in Lovina, Indonesia. With four beds, four baths, and fit for 11 people, I feel like it would be a bit overkill for a group of four.

But then, perhaps the site considered the fact that we were colleagues and hence probably wanted our own rooms. When I tweaked my search to say “siblings”, the Lovina suggestion was still offered, but the first pick became a place with just two rooms.

The site was also able to understand that I was looking for a place for four, and automatically tweaked the number of guests in the “filter and sort” setting. When searching for a place “less than $100”, they also intuitively changed the price range in the filter.

Going minimalist with a search for “cheapest options”, I was told “that might be off topic”. When I switched to “most affordable destinations”, though, I was shown properties in KL, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.

To push the boundaries of the AI, I searched up “a place with terrible weather”. Apparently, the top pick was a property in Fairbanks, Alaska, which sounds like it could be right.

Essentially, this tool functions like a filtered search, except it’s based on natural language processing.

While it may not be the most helpful for people who know specificities on what they want, this feature feels ideal for people who are looking for inspiration.

The future is here

In the future, AI-powered searches will probably become the norm, but for now, it remains quite a novel experience. So, it’s interesting to see established global companies like Marriott Bonvoy recognise the importance of leveraging AI, and do it in a way that actually makes sense for the end consumer.

The question now is whether we’ll start seeing this being implemented in other Marriott Bonvoy brands.

According to the press release, this search with AI functionality is being tested “initially as a part of the broader technology transformation at Marriott International to unlock value for customers with more seamless, personalised, and engaging ways to experience travel”.

So, yes, it does seem like more hospitality platforms will be including AI technology in their platforms down the road.

  • Learn more about Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about artificial intelligence here.

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)