January 12, 2017

How Booking.com’s digital travel assistant planned our trip to Paris


All-knowing digital assistants are set to transform how we travel. Since late September, Booking.com has been quietly piloting the beta version of a predictive learning feature called Booking Experiences.

If you currently use Booking’s app to reserve a room in one of six initial markets (Amsterdam, Paris, Dubai, Rome, Barcelona, and London), you’ll unlock a list of 30-50 local tours, activities, and attractions offering special discounts or the ability to skip the line to enter. To get into any of the venues, you just have to scan a QR code in the app that’s tied to your credit card. Since no one had reviewed the product yet, I was eager to test it out before it launches in New York and Orlando this year. So I used Booking’s app to find a room in Paris and blindly followed its list of curated Booking Experiences around the city for a few days.

Based on my dates, budget, and preferred arrondissement, Booking’s top-recommended stay was the chic, Christian Lacroix–designed Hôtel du Petit Moulin in the Marais neighborhood. After dropping my bag and admiring the room’s mirrored ceiling, I saw that the closest 'Experience' was a “skip-the-line fast entry” to the Centre Pompidou , 12 minutes away. But to access the pass- as well as other “skip-the-line” passes to the Louvre Museum and Palace of Versailles—I had to go to a ticket office 20 minutes away in the opposite direction.

I opted for passes to both the Pompidou and Louvre, and after a quick QR scan purchase, I breezed past the 35-minute line at the Pompidou and the 45-minute wait at the Louvre, saving an hour in all.

Get the full story at Condé Nast Traveler