Survey finds ChatGPT itineraries to be ‘riddled with inaccuracies’

A survey of ChatGPT-generated travel itineraries found 90% to be inaccurate, with errors including permanently closed restaurants or attractions, incorrect opening times and impossible schedules.

Digital marketing agency SEO Travel conducted the research, requesting ChatGPT create 10 two-day itineraries for each of 10 city destinations: London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Dubai and Tokyo.

When researchers analysed the results, they found the itineraries “riddled with inaccuracies”, with 90% including one or more errors.

One in four (24%) recommended a restaurant, cafe or attraction that had temporarily or permanently closed – such as Berlin’s Pergamon Museum (closed until 2026) and Café Einstein (shut last year) – and more than half (52%) suggested visiting at least one attraction, cafe or restaurant outside its opening hours.

Almost one-third (30%) included a Michelin-starred restaurant despite the cost. One in four itineraries (25%) required travellers to backtrack or make unnecessary detours, for example recommending a 12-mile detour for breakfast in Dubai. Some also recommended non-existent places and ChatGPT suggested staying in different hotels each night on trips to Amsterdam and Berlin.

SEO Travel director Tom McLoughlin told Travel Weekly: “We conducted the research after a survey revealed as many as two-thirds of travellers expect to use AI to research or plan travel in future.”

He noted: “Plenty of big travel players have announced adoption of AI, so I imagine smaller companies will follow suit. Bigger companies have the resources to build their own AI tools, which will likely be more accurate than platforms like ChatGPT. Smaller companies need to be more vigilant.”

McLoughlin advised: “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking AI is the answer to everything. What operators and agents can do that AI can’t is provide personalised recommendations tailored to individuals or groups. AI will always be feeding off existing information, so is always going to be behind or feature inaccuracies.

“AI tools also lack the personal insight of travel experts. You need to be communicating this. Shout it from the rooftops! The personalisation and knowledge you have is becoming more of a strength in a world where AI becomes ubiquitous.”

The survey was carried out using the ChatGPT-3.5 version launched to huge acclaim in November 2022.

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