While much of the discussion around artificial intelligence has centered on how good AI is at planning travel – and how it could replace travel advisors (it can't) – the truth is that AI can be incredibly helpful for travel advisors with a variety of tasks.
AI can write an advisor biography, Facebook posts, or even entire blogs. But to get the most out of AI, you need to approach it in the right way. Here are five tips, based on a presentation by Vanderbilt University professor Jesse Spencer-Smith at this week's Travel Leaders Networks' EDGE conference that will make AI work for you.
(We used Bing's chatbot for this article. Other AI models you can use include ChatGPT, ChatGPT Plus [$20 per month], Chatsonic, and Google's Bard.)
1. Use a Persona Prompt
Think about it this way. If you were to hire a person to write a blog for you, who would you ask? You'd probably want someone who was skilled at writing, no? Or if you wanted to write a sales email, you might ask a copywriter.
The same holds true with artificial intelligence. Because AI knows what a travel writer is or what a copywriter is, it is able to emulate both.
But to get AI to do so, you need to tell it.
For example, "You are a sales email writer that specializes in emails that arouse curiosity and get people to reply." Or, "You are a travel writer who uses colorful descriptions to evoke images of distant places."
The same would be true if you wanted to write something in legalese. In that case, you might tell AI, "You are a lawyer specializing in writing legal documents."
Once you've identified the persona you want AI to adopt, you then need to tell it what to do.
Here's an example of a task we gave AI: "You are a lawyer specializing in writing legal documents. Please write a document for a travel agency advising clients to take out travel insurance and absolving the agency and its advisors of any responsibility for monies lost if the client decides not to take insurance."
Here's what we got back:
# Travel Insurance Disclaimer
This document is intended to inform you of the benefits and risks of purchasing travel insurance for your trip. Please read it carefully and sign it at the bottom to acknowledge your understanding and agreement.
## Benefits of Travel Insurance
Travel insurance can provide you with financial protection and peace of mind in case of unforeseen events that may affect your trip, such as:
- Cancellation or interruption of your trip due to illness, injury, death, or other covered reasons
- Medical expenses and emergency assistance in case you get sick or injured while traveling
- Lost, stolen, or damaged baggage and personal belongings
- Delayed or missed flights and other travel disruptions
- Legal liability and expenses in case you cause damage or injury to others while traveling
Depending on the type and level of coverage you choose, travel insurance can reimburse you for some or all of these costs, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.
## Risks of Not Purchasing Travel Insurance
If you decide not to purchase travel insurance for your trip, you are solely responsible for any financial losses or liabilities that may arise from your travel plans. This means that you will have to bear the full cost of any cancellation fees, medical bills, baggage claims, legal expenses, or other losses that may occur before, during, or after your trip.
The travel agency and its advisors are not liable for any monies lost or damages incurred by you as a result of not purchasing travel insurance. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the travel agency and its advisors from any claims, demands, actions, or suits that may arise from your decision not to purchase travel insurance.
## Acknowledgment and Agreement
By signing this document, you acknowledge that:
- You have read and understood the benefits and risks of purchasing or not purchasing travel insurance for your trip
- You have been given the opportunity to ask questions and seek advice from the travel agency and its advisors regarding travel insurance
- You have made an informed and voluntary decision whether to purchase or not purchase travel insurance for your trip
- You accept full responsibility for the consequences of your decision and waive any rights to hold the travel agency and its advisors liable for any monies lost or damages incurred as a result of your decision
2. Flip the Prompt
Artificial intelligence has three ways of knowing information.
First, it can pull from its library, which includes all the information it was given in its early years. This information is only up-to-date as of November 2021, and even then does not include the entirety of the Internet.
Second, depending on the AI that you're using, it can search the Internet for information. However, it will not search the entire Internet. It will do a search and stop at the first few pages that it feels have given it all the information it thinks it needs to know.
Third, you can tell it the information it needs.
This third one is particularly important for things like writing a biography for you or writing a blog that includes your thoughts and observations.
In this case, in your prompt you can either give it information you want it to have or direct it to ask you questions – and continue asking questions – until it gets enough information from you.
Here's a prompt we used in which we provided information we wanted included: "You are a travel writer specializing in short blogs. Please write a three paragraph blog for me about staying at the Gaylord Resort and Conference Center in Nashville. Please include my thoughts that you'll need at least a day to get used to the layout, which is windy and confusing, and that my favorite spot for a casual dinner was the Solario Cantina where the vegetarian tacos were the best thing on the menu."
Here's another in which we asked AI to ask us questions: "You are a travel writer that specializes in writing short blogs. I want you to write a short blog for me about my stay at the Gaylord Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. Ask me questions about my stay so you will have enough information to write a three-paragraph blog. Ask all the questions at once, numbered and I will respond with numbered answers. Then write the blog."
Here are the questions the AI asked:
- When did you stay at the resort and for how long?
- What did you enjoy most about the resort's amenities and services?
- What did you do outside the resort in Nashville and how was your experience?
- How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the resort and would you recommend it to others
3. In-Context Learning Prompts
Similar to you giving AI information, it can also learn from examples that you provide it.
If you see a biography that you really love, you can cut and paste it and ask the AI to emulate that writing when it writes your bio. Or, you can copy and paste examples of your own writing and ask it to write in your voice, so whatever it writes sounds like you.
To be clear, there will be no plagiarizing. It will simply emulate the style.
One thing to remember when providing examples to AI: you cannot provide anything too long.
AI's ability to hold a "conversation" with you can only last so long. Depending on the model you're using, that can be several paragraphs to several pages of information. If it goes past that, it will start to forget the beginning of the conversation. In other words, it will forget what you asked it to do. Usually when that happens, it will simply stop what it is doing and ask you to begin again with something new.
4. Iterate & Edit
The first version of whatever you've asked AI to write for you will rarely be the version you use. A first version may be too generic. Or maybe its missing information you really wanted. When asking for a rewrite, be sure to tell the AI what you want to be different. If there's something you really want to keep, tell it that too.
For instance, you can say: "Please rewrite using a more casual tone of voice." Or "Please rewrite to focus on my expertise with luxury cruising."
(Always be polite and say please. Because of the way it learns, if you are rude to the AI, it will eventually be rude back.)
Additionally, watch out for bits of information that the AI will make up! And it will make up information.
For instance, here is a bio AI wrote:
Dori Saltzman is a cruise writer and editor who has been sharing her passion for cruising since 2012. She joined the team at CruiseCritic.com, the world’s largest cruise review and information site, and has since developed her expertise in all facets of cruising. She has written about expedition cruising, big ship cruising, U.S. river cruising, and how to sell cruises. She has also been on more than 60 cruises and has visited five continents on ships. Her favorite cruises have taken her to Alaska, the British Isles, Norway, the South Pacific and Australia. Dori’s writing is based on her personal experiences onboard cruise ships and she aims to inspire people who never thought they’d take a cruise to finally take one. She believes that cruising is the best way to see the world and enjoy a variety of cultures, cuisines and activities. Dori is from New Jersey and loves to travel with her husband and son.
The bio is fairly generic in tone – too boring for our taste in writing – and the subject of the bio does not have a son.
We provided the AI with an iteration prompt: "Please rewrite to have a more casual tone of voice and leave out the piece about having a son."
Here's the second version of the bio:
Hi, I’m Dori Saltzman and I’m crazy about cruises. I worked for CruiseCritic.com, the biggest and best cruise site out there, between 2012 and 2020. I know pretty much everything there is to know about cruising, from small ships to big ships, from rivers to oceans, and from selling cruises to taking cruises. I’ve been on over 60 cruises and I’ve seen some amazing places around the world. Some of my favorites are Alaska, the British Isles, Norway, the South Pacific and Australia. I write about what it’s really like to cruise and I hope to get more people hooked on this awesome way of travel. I think cruising is the coolest thing ever and you can have so much fun and learn so much on a cruise. I’m from New Jersey and I love to travel with my hubby.
5. Ask AI to Rephrase Your Prompt in a Shorter Version
If you think you'll need to use a similar prompt (including iteration prompts) for a future project, ask the AI to rephrase all you previous prompts into one shorter version. This can save you time in the long run and cuts down on the chance of bumping up against the AI's memory limitations.
The prompt we used here was: "Please restate all of my previous prompts into a single shorter prompt that is clear and will produce the same quality output."
It then took my original prompt and iteration prompt and created a new, shorter prompt for me: "Write a casual bio of me as a cruise writer and editor based on my answers to your questions. Leave out my son."