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Case Study: Travelshift - Building an AI Powered OTA

This blog post is written by Janet Butler, Director,

David Stewart, CEO of Travelshift, took TTI delegates on a whistle stop journey through the evolution of Travelshift from 2012 to present, at the recent TTI Spring Conference in London, highlighting how travel bookings with the inclusion of AI have become truly seamless!


The company which was initially started as a ‘Guide to Iceland’, a marketplace allowing inbound visitors to book all aspects of travel under one roof. Since its launch in 2014, Guide to Iceland has become the leading OTA and the most popular website about Iceland with 1.1 million visitors per month.


Having already achieved success with ‘Guide to Iceland’, Travelshift has gone from strength to strength to develop ‘Guide to Europe’, and it was so confident that this product would be a great success, it made a $20 million investment into developing the scalable and automated travel platform. It has been able to make a quantum leap by adding AI to its platform to optimize the discovery, planning and booking process for its customers.


David Stewart said; - “We now offer the world's largest selection of complete vacations in Europe, powered by AI. Planning the perfect vacation in the past was challenging, as it often involved extensive research across multiple platforms, but with Travelshift, customers can now book a complete vacation in Europe with an optimised itinerary that includes all travel services, including tours and experiences.”


“The idea was to reduce the number of clicks it takes to complete a booking, and offer customers the ability to book all travel services under one roof. This and the introduction of detailed itineraries, booking vouchers, maps and a chatbot called ‘Travis’ complete the Travelshift offering. Now complete vacations can be booked in as few as ten clicks.”


David Stewart highlighted four main features of the Travelshift platform.


  1. ‘Microservice architecture’ which easily connects to any third-party system.It integrates, manages and distributes inventory. Currently delivering 1.2 million accommodations, 115,000 tours, 300 car rental offices, and real-time flights to all EU airports.

  2. AI automated content that is easy to update and translate.

  3. AI-driven trip-planning is used to create optimal itineraries based on customer selected preferences.

  4. Automated back-office functionality which means instant booking confirmations.


“What we’re trying to do is build something that is scalable so, as our bookings increase, we don’t need more people,” said Stewart. “We’ve got sales and customer service, but the way we manage our business is not a human-intensive model.”


“Travelshift seamlessly integrates all aspects of travel,” he concluded. “For us, it’s all about the experience for the traveller, not a logistics solution. A lot of our OTA competitors are good at one thing or two things they can bring together, but no one has been able to solve the connected trip on a grand scale. We’re trying to do that in an automated way.”


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