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Google’s AI travel tools, Room Crunch in New York and the Air France Olympic lounge

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Today’s podcast looks at Google’s AI travel tools, New York’s lack of rooms, and an airport lounge destined for the Olympics.

— Rashaad Jorden

Hello from Skift. It is Wednesday, May 29. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.

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Episode Notes

Google has made further inroads into the travel industry in recent months with the launch of several AI-powered products. Travel technology journalist Justin Dawes takes a look at four of them.

Dawes notes that Google has been integrating new AI capabilities into software for physical products, including mobile phones. A new feature on Android devices allows users to translate on-screen content without having to switch apps. Travel technology company Saber recently unveiled a new AI-powered retail platform for airlines, called SabreMosaic, aimed at helping airlines create and sell personalized retail experiences .

Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines plans to launch a trip planner built with Google technology. IHG Hotels & Resorts plans to launch a Google AI-powered travel planning tool within its One Rewards mobile app later this year.

Then New York hotel rates hit record highs, largely because of a shortage of supply, writes senior hospitality editor Sean O’Neill.

The average room price in New York in the first quarter was $231, up nearly 7% from last year, according to data firm CoStar. O’Neill notes that one of the main factors behind the surge in room prices is that local authorities are essentially banning short-term rentals in the city. The New York Times reported that short-term rentals made up about 10% of the city’s travel accommodations before the crackdown.

The city’s decision to convert thousands of hotel rooms into migrant housing also contributed to soaring room prices. This practice has taken about 2% of the city’s net hotel rooms off the market compared to pre-Covid levels.

Finally, Air France will open an ultra-exclusive airport lounge ahead of the Paris Olympics, reports Gordon Smith, editor-in-chief of Airlines.

While Smith writes that the concept of airlines offering exclusive services to premium customers is far from new, he notes that Air France is pushing these boundaries even further with its new ultra-luxury offering, the La Première lounge. Lounge passengers have access to a spa as well as a menu created by eminent chef Alain Ducasse.

Additionally, Air France premium customers can reserve space in three fully private suites adjacent to the main La Première lounge. Each suite includes a double bedroom, an outdoor patio and a dedicated butler on the patio.

Producer/Presenter: José Marmolejos

Photo credit: A new lounge space will be exclusively reserved for La Première customers.