Limitless in appeal and infinite in application, it’s easy to see why artificial intelligence (AI) is now firmly embedded in the fabric of the travel industry. AI has been embraced by the sector as a supportive tool, one that has the capability to bring tangible benefits to both destination marketing organisations (DMOs) and the destinations they serve. While the sector is undeniably making the most of AI’s present potential, it’s not clear how this current progress will translate into the future. 

As we’ll explore, there are certain trends and themes that are starting to emerge, each of which offer a brief glimmer into how AI may shape the future of our industry.


A Tool for the Now

Back in January, Tracy Ryan, Head of EMEA Marketing at Simpleview, referenced AI — specifically generative AI, the type used to create content, ideas, and images — in a presentation to The Tourism Society. During her presentation “The Future of Destination Marketing”, Tracy shared that while the use of tools such as Bard and ChatGPT are now widespread, they are deployed by sector professionals with some considerable caveats. As with any tool, the quality of the end product is dependent upon the skill of the user and — with AI specifically — upon an individual’s ability to finely hone a query. 


Keeping those provisos in mind, the way that we use ChatGPT within the Simpleview marketing department to support content generation is a microcosm of how this technology is being used by DMOs and destinations alike. Some of the content we produced in late 2023 — from podcasts to blog posts — is indicative of the extent to which AI is now being used within the industry, particularly as a tool for destination marketers. 

Having spoken to a few of our DMO clients over the past few months, it’s clear that many are using this technology in their day-to-day operations to support the improvement of SEO, Google rankings, and as a starting point for developing content. 


Defining and Refining the Future of Generative AI 

The present use of generative AI comes with an awareness of its limitations, an awareness that may well feed into its future development. 

As many who use it know, the results received from any generative AI interface are only as good as the quality of input it receives. This is where the indispensable human element comes into play. 

Beyond offering warmth and colour to AI-generated content, the human touch has also been instrumental in building the kind of frameworks that enable this technology to be used sensitively, ethically, and with transparency, both in this industry and beyond. 

At Simpleview, we know that many of our DMO clients are more than adept at inputting carefully crafted queries into their chosen tool and using the results to create marketing content that achieves impactful results. 

While the future of this technology isn’t clear, its already deeply entrenched presence makes it difficult to see a future in which AI  — under the close and careful command of human hands — doesn’t play a strong part in shaping the day-to-day marketing operations of any DMO. 


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