Over the last 20 years, many areas of the travel industry have been transformed by waves of disruption, from technologies like the web and mobile to new product categories like home- and ride-sharing.
The next wave is undoubtedly artificial intelligence (AI), a catch-all term encompassing natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, machine vision and robotics.
Like the waves before it, AI is evolving from a trend to be watched to a force majeure. AI is currently being integrated into every conceivable corner of the industry, and it is beginning to shift industry dynamics, affording new opportunities for travel brands to rethink business processes, optimize advertising, increase customer engagement, improve customer support and so much more.
Expectations are high for AI-first startups. Billions of dollars of capital have now been invested. It’s time for these companies to go from "starting" mode to "scaling" mode and prove that they can become formidable companies.
This report highlights founding, funding and category trends among AI-focused travel startups, and maps out a landscape of interesting companies in the space.