Since their public launch in November of last year, it seems like OpenAI’s latest tool, ChatGPT, is just about everywhere. The buzz around ChatGPT has grown into a full-on phenomenon across various industries, including the tourism industry. But what does a tour operator need to know about it? Consider this your starting point for understanding tools like ChatGPT—what they are, how you can use them, and what we’re keyed into in the world of AI chat at TOMIS.
- What is ChatGPT?
- How TOMIS uses ChatGPT
- How operators can leverage ChatGPT
- Limitations of ChatGPT
- The Future of AI Chat What
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a large language model (LLM) that uses deep learning techniques to analyze and understand natural language. It’s trained on millions of data points from across the internet to generate human-like responses to text-based conversation. While large language models are designed to simulate human-like conversation, they don’t “think” for themselves. Generating responses to user questions and queries, engaging in casual conversation, and even creating long-form essays are just some of the functions this AI is capable of performing.
Simply put, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence program that generates human-like responses to user questions and conversational prompts. It uses machine learning to pull from data and content that already exists all across the internet, providing information it determines will be the most helpful and relevant to the user’s query.
How to Use ChatGPT as a Tool
The ability to create human-like text makes LLMs ideal for assisting with time-consuming or difficult tasks. Generating blogs, improving customer experience interactions, and translating across languages are some of the best uses of ChatGPT we’ve seen. However, LLMs are not always trained for accuracy. This means that incorrect or biased answers are likely to surface in the AI-generated content. That’s why it’s important to know how to use it as a strategic tool rather than relying on it as a crutch.
How TOMIS Uses LLMs
At TOMIS, we’ve been building AI ChatBots specifically for tour operators for over five years! We know firsthand how exciting this technology is when used correctly. ChatGPT and other LLMs have proven to be powerful new tools during the bot creation process.
You may be wondering why you need to build a ChatBot if you could just install ChatGPT directly on your site. There are a couple of reasons why this wouldn’t work. Imagine you hire a new front desk staff member. Their primary responsibilities will include answering the phones, clearing out the email inbox, and encouraging guests who contact your office to book a tour. On day one of their training, you tell them to go read 2 million tweets, 4 million blog posts, and all of Wikipedia. This is probably not the right training method for the job, right? That’s exactly why we don’t build Bots on top of ChatGPT—it’s just not the tool to surface between you and your customers.
While ChatGPT may know a lot about what’s on the internet, that doesn’t mean it specifically knows your business. At TOMIS, we build a scaled-down version for your AI Bot. We focus on a much smaller data set built around your unique business and target customers. From there, we can leverage ChatGPT to help optimize Bot responses and to improve our industry templates.
On the agency side at TOMIS, it’s been a great tool to help break through creative blockers. ChatGPT has helped with tasks like generating new ideas for paid advertising copy and providing a basic template structure to build upon for a blog post. The ability to leverage its vast amount of data to generate fresh ideas has proven to be a beneficial resource.
How Operators Can Use ChatGPT
When it comes to the ways tour operators can leverage ChatGPT, we’ve seen some great examples around content generation. Tools like ChatGPT and Jasper (another AI copywriter) are ideal for generating the building blocks for high-quality, relevant, and engaging content for websites and other marketing channels.
We know that high-quality content that demonstrates your expertise is an important ranking factor for Google. This is why TOMIS’ Content Marketing service has successfully helped numerous operators increase their organic traffic and revenue. One of the biggest roadblocks for TOMIS clients when it comes to their content marketing efforts is the lack of sufficient internal bandwidth to create these blog posts. Writing a high-quality blog post can be time-consuming.
This is where conversational AI comes in. “Write a blog post between 1,000 and 1,500 words on the topic of bachelorette parties visiting Nashville, TN. Include the top 10 must-do things to add to their itinerary” is an example of a well-crafted prompt. When fed to ChatGPT or Jasper, it will generate a pretty impressive blog post. The more specific you can be with your prompt, the better the result you’ll get. However, what you get on the first try will not be what you should copy and paste directly onto your website. The AI is pulling information from all across the internet, which means not everything that it generates will be relevant and/or accurate for your particular business.
While ChatGPT can create a pretty good wireframe for a blog post, this doesn’t mean operators should use it to mass-produce blogs in an effort to increase their organic rankings. Strategic content topics, keyword research, ongoing post updates and optimizations, and internal linking are all vital to the success of a blog. It’s also unclear how Google’s algorithms will rank AI-generated content in the future. Google has guidelines on what constitutes “high-quality” content, and any AI-generated content that does not meet those standards may not rank well in organic search results.
Social Media Copy
Maintaining an active social media presence is important to stay relevant, as well as to build and engage your audience. Everyone experiences writer’s block from time to time. ChatGPT can be a helpful tool in providing fresh ideas for your social media posts. When writing your prompt for the AI, think about the goal of your post. Whether you’re looking for a clever way to promote a holiday sale or you want to include a more direct call to action, give ChatGPT clear direction in your prompt and specify the audience you’re trying to engage with through the post. If your first take doesn’t quite hit the mark, revise your prompt as needed.
Other key areas of an operator’s website, when thinking about copywriting, are the tour/activity descriptions. How do you convince a potential customer to choose your tour over another? How do you convey the value proposition in a way that allows the customer to really imagine the experience? This is another great way to leverage ChatGPT. Asking it to “write a couple paragraphs detailing the experience one can expect to enjoy on a single-day tour of California’s wine country” can provide some great building blocks to get you started. Again, a more specific prompt will yield a stronger result that can then be revised as needed to ensure accuracy.
This concept is illustrated through the example below. By continually refining a prompt to include specific considerations, such as what is/is not included in the tour and who the ideal customer is, we were able to generate a stronger response. Now we could take the AI-generated content, revise and edit as needed, and construct a website-worthy final product.
Limitations of ChatGPT
Now that we’ve discussed many things ChatGPT does well, it’s also important to understand its limitations. Where this technology shines is when it’s used to strengthen and complement your existing efforts, as well as save you valuable time. While it is an impressive piece of technology, it’s not meant to, nor can it, replace humans. Rather than solely relying on AI, using it strategically in tandem with human review and revision will ensure accuracy and maintain quality standards.
SEO Keyword Research
One drawback of ChatGPT is that it has “limited knowledge of world events after 2021.” This is something to keep in mind when looking for information that is current, including keyword trends. ChatGPT may not know the search volume nor the current trends of specific keywords when recommending them for an SEO keyword strategy. While ChatGPT can be a great tool to recommend target keywords and provide new ideas, these recommendations should not be taken at face value. It’s important to do your own research to confirm these claims before incorporating them into your SEO strategy. You also want to make sure what’s being suggested makes sense for your business and your target audience.
Accuracy & Bias
ChatGPT is trained on massive amounts of text data from across the internet, which means it can pick up biases and stereotypes present in that data. As you can imagine, the millions of internet data points that are used to train an LLM aren’t screened for overall accuracy nor truthfulness. There have been cases where the language generated by ChatGPT is flat-out incorrect or misleading, as well as cases where the information contained gender or racial biases. This is yet another example of why it’s crucial to review the content generated by ChatGPT and other AI and revise when necessary.
The Future of Conversational AI
AI is constantly evolving. The newest version of ChatGPT that was announced March 13th, GPT-4, is said to have advanced in three key areas: creativity, visual input, and longer context. According to Open AI, GPT-4 can collaborate with users on creative projects—even going so far as to “learn a user’s writing style.” While this claim has yet to be fully tested by real-world users, it’ll be interesting to watch how this next chapter of ChatGPT unfolds.
Other tech companies are also looking to get more skin in the game. In February, Google introduced “Bard”—their new conversational AI service.
When it comes to what we can predict for the future of conversational AI, we decided to go straight to the source and ask ChatGPT directly. Here’s what it had to say:
“The future of AI chat is likely to be characterized by several exciting developments. Here are a few possibilities:
- More Natural and Human-Like Conversations: AI chatbots are likely to become even more advanced in their ability to mimic human conversations. They may be able to understand context, emotions, and subtle nuances of language, making interactions with them feel more natural and intuitive.
- Personalization: As AI chatbots become more sophisticated, they will be able to personalize their interactions with users, tailoring responses to each individual’s unique needs, preferences, and personality traits.
- Multilingual Capabilities: AI chatbots will continue to become more adept at translating between languages, making it easier for people around the world to communicate with each other.
- Improved Accuracy: The accuracy of AI chatbots will continue to improve, making it easier for them to understand user queries and provide relevant responses.
- Integration with Other Technologies: AI chatbots will increasingly be integrated with other technologies, such as virtual assistants and smart home devices. This will enable them to provide more comprehensive and integrated services to users.
- Deeper Insights: AI chatbots will continue to generate valuable insights into user behavior, preferences, and needs. These insights can be used to improve product development, marketing, and customer service.
- Increased Automation: AI chatbots will become more automated, requiring less human intervention to operate effectively. This will enable them to handle more complex tasks and interactions with users.
Overall, the future of AI chat looks promising, with exciting possibilities for improving communication and enhancing user experiences.”
When it comes to impacts on the tourism industry in particular, ChatGPT claims that conversational AI will be able to “offer travelers a more personalized, seamless, and immersive travel experience.” Some of the most significant predictions include things like:
- Real-time language translation: Conversational AI can help bridge language barriers for travelers. Real-time translation technology can enable tourists to communicate with locals in their native language, which can enhance their travel experience and help them immerse themselves in the local culture.
- Enhanced marketing: Conversational AI can help tourism companies reach new customers and enhance their marketing efforts. ChatBots can interact with potential customers on social media platforms, answer their questions, and provide travel recommendations based on their interests.
- Improved customer experience: Conversational AI can also help improve the overall customer experience by providing 24/7 support, reducing wait times, and delivering customized travel itineraries based on travelers’ preferences.
With the ability to provide instant, personalized responses to customer inquiries and automate routine tasks, conversational AI has already proven to be an invaluable tool. As we watch this technology rapidly evolve, TOMIS will continue seeking practical applications we can share with our clients to help them stay both competitive and improve efficiencies in their own businesses.