Ctrip to integrate Baidu’s ChatGPT-style Bot into tourism services

China’s online travel agency Ctrip announced on 15 February that it has become one of the first-batch of partners to trial Baidu’s ChatGPT-style ERNIE Bot ecosystem, ushering in a new era of AI chatbot project application into domestic tourism.

ERNIE Bot, dubbed ‘Wenxin Yiyan’ in Chinese, is an AI-powered language model developed by the country’s tech behemoth Baidu. It will complete its internal testing before being made available for free to the public in March. Ctrip is set to integrate the functions provided by ERNIE Bot to elevate its business explorations in multiple travel spheres and optimise online customer services propelled by AI technologies, as well as leading the transformation of the domestic travel industry.

Notably, prior to Ctrip, another one of China’s travel agencies Qunar embedded the ChatGPT-style conversational search engine one week ago to answer users’ questions and generate travel itineraries. The feature is displayed on the frontpage of Qunar’s mobile app with easy access to the query section. 

Commenting on the new merge of the travel industry with an AI chatbot, a spokesperson for Qunar said “Travel-related online consultations surged as tourism slowly got back on track. Among all the users, the post-95 generation is the dominant cohort, whilst showcasing great interest in these types of interactive functions.”

To date, apart from Ctrip, dozens of China’s established companies have disclosed their decisions to have ERNIE Bot onboard, covering a wide array of industries spanning video and recruitment, through to automobile, setting their sights on upgrading business systemsand diversifying revenue sources with the help of AI technology.

Since the appearance of ChatGPT, which has gained worldwide traction and kicked off a bourgeoning global AI race, there is no company who wants to be left behind. Ctrip is one of them, and by integrating Baidu’s ERNIE Bot, the tourism player has presented its ambitions in further evolving its business sectors, opening a new chapter of the travel industry with ever-increasing convenience and intelligence.


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