HomeToGo
HomeToGo has announced its latest innovations in AI [Credit: HomeToGo]

HomeToGo to roll out fresh AI innovations

Germany: SaaS-enabled vacation rental marketplace HomeToGo has announced new updates on its product vision to build a “fully AI-powered marketplace”.

After launching its AI Mode to “revolutionise” vacation rental searches last year, HomeToGo debuted a first glimpse into building a comprehensive AI travel companion during its Capital Markets Day in 2023, and it has now unveiled its plan for upcoming product rollouts.

These include:

  • A future AI companion for the complete travel journey: Super AI Sunny. The AI-powered sidekick will intuitively guide HomeToGo guests through every aspect of travel planning, including search, booking and post-booking support.
  • A first beta version with AI Sunny, an upgrade to its existing guest support chatbot, Sunny. As a new AI-powered travel assistant for supporting guests while booking, AI Sunny is powered by the same AI platform as HomeToGo’s AI Mode is for search.
  • A collaboration with Google Cloud’s Vertex AI on the company’s path to building a fully AI-powered marketplace.
  • Launched new product upgrades with complementary brands to become the go-to destination for holistic travel planning, including SQUAKE, komoot and WeatherPromise.

 

Dr Patrick Andrae, co-founder and CEO of HomeToGo, said: “At HomeToGo we don’t see AI as a trend but as a transformative shift with endless opportunities to empower our travellers and supply partners. The key for any AI endeavour is to constantly update your understanding about where model innovation of the likes of OpenAI, Meta or Google ends and where your own innovation can begin.

“We’ve earned a reputation in our industry as AI pioneers, having been the first to launch an AI product that revolutionised vacation rental search with AI Mode, making valuable learnings very early. Now, we’re complementing AI Mode for search to booking by upgrading our guest relations chatbot to an AI-powered travel assistant.

“Looking ahead, we plan to combine these technologies plus our invaluable learnings to build Super AI Sunny, an AI-powered sidekick that is always available as a personal travel assistant, for comprehensive travel planning from search to booking to post-booking. By combining the core vacation rental data only available to HomeToGo with the rapidly growing power of various LLMs out there, we continue to leverage new and useful advancements in AI as quickly as possible.

“Our extensive history with AI and the fact that we don’t wait for big, fancy launch dates means our travellers will be able to benefit from Super AI Sunny as soon as it’s ready for the market,” he added.

Beyond Super AI Sunny, HomeToGo also announced a number of AI developments that are currently launched in beta ahead of a busy summer travel season.

As an evolution of HomeToGo’s existing chatbot Sunny, AI Sunny [now in beta] is described as a new AI-powered travel assistant that provides instant guest relations support for vacation rental bookings. It will complement the company’s existing AI Mode, its generative AI-powered search tool, by enabling guests to ask and receive instant support for simple to complex booking-related questions via written, personalised conversation.

In a recent survey, HomeToGo observed a clear demand for AI in travel booking, with 61 per cent of US travellers considering conversational AI to help with travel support and 72 per cent saying that they would use AI to find the perfect accommodation. The company claims that AI Sunny is improving efficiency while preserving a high-quality service for travellers.

Looking ahead, AI Mode and AI Sunny products will merge to provide the foundation for Super AI Sunny, the company’s future AI companion for the entire travel journey. This will provide instant support for search, booking and post-booking to make the full trip planning experience personalised, intuitive and simple.

Furthermore, HomeToGo has developed a central AI application dubbed by the project name ‘AI Autobahn’. The gateway is designed to centralise and unify all product use cases for AI while strategically remaining LLM [language learning model] agnostic overall.

The Berlin-based firm has also announced plans to leverage Google Cloud’s Vertex AI platform capabilities as part of AI Autobahn, including Vertex AI’s model garden that offers possibilities to train and customise LLMs depending on which capabilities best fit a given use case. HomeToGo is currently leveraging Google Cloud’s Gemini model in tests to power Smart AI Reviews, or generative AI-summarised reviews from trusted guests that highlight key information based on each traveller’s unique intent.

Five months ago, the vacation rental marketplace made the largest acquisition of its kind to date by acquiring a majority stake in KMW Reisen GmbH and Super Urlaub GmbH.

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