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Big data and artificial intelligence will dominate travel technology, industry experts predict.
Barry Diller, chairman of Expedia and of media company IAC, told the WTTC summit: “The issue now is management of big data and machine learning. You need aspects of artificial intelligence (AI) to help you manage big data.” Diller warned:“We’re dealing with something that in 20, 30, 40 years will be like a meteorite hitting the planet.”
Darron Huston, Priceline Group president and chief executive, agreed, saying: “AI and big data are where it is at. If you can figure a way to make use of your data and your scale, you can outweigh any smaller [competitor].” But Huston said: “As an industry we need to be better at dealing with private data.”
Expedia president and chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi also emphasised scale, saying: “We hope to make available to everyone in the world everything that is available in travel.”
Expedia paid $3.9 billion for online vacation rental operator HomeAway in December 2015. Khosrowshahi said: “We see alternative accommodation as a new category that is incredibly popular.” But he added: “We’ll take HomeAway froman advertising model to a transactional model.”