This Family Used AI to Travel The World For A Year — Here’s What They Learned

BARCELONA, Spain, June 18, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — For the past 12 months, Michael Motamedi, Vanessa Salas and their two-year-old daughter have circumnavigated the world using AI travel genius GuideGeek to choose which countries to visit and what to experience at each of their destinations. Starting in June 2023, the family visited Morocco, Spain, France, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, UAE, Maldives, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines and Curaçao, relying on AI every step of the way.

A survey from GuideGeek parent company Matador Network found that more than half of travelers — especially families with kids — may use AI to plan and book travel this summer. Travelers can message GuideGeek for free on WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger for complete itineraries or realtime travel advice. The AI has answered more than 7.7 million questions since launching 15 months ago.

“Get creative and go beyond just asking for the best cocktails or tapas or whatever,” says Motamedi, who often asked GuideGeek to plan a day for him through the eyes of a famous person associated with the city he was visiting, such as Picasso or Dalí. He says open-ended questions can lead to fantastic discoveries you’d never think of — such as visiting the country of Montenegro.

Montenegro was a total surprise from GuideGeek,” says Salas. “When GuideGeek picked it, we were both like, ‘What?’ But it was one of my favorite places we visited — beautiful, unassuming and not on any list I’ve ever seen.”

Other noteworthy adventures suggested by the AI included hanging out with a falconer in the desert outside Dubai, making driftwood art after snorkeling in Curaçao and eating eel soup at the far edge of an island in the Philippines. GuideGeek also assisted with simple daily needs, like finding playgrounds for the couple’s daughter.

“As with any AI, you’re going to feel compelled to double check GuideGeek with Google,” says Motamedi. “But GuideGeek has gotten so accurate that we started just getting recommendations from it and diving in immediately. It has really freed us to be present with the places and people we’re visiting.”

GuideGeek now checks in real time if restaurants and attractions it’s recommending are open, as well as pricing and hours. By using reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF) — where curators monitored over 1.4 conversations to help train the AI and improve user experience — GuideGeek’s accuracy has increased from 85% to 98%. The accuracy of the service has made it an appealing choice for partners looking to connect with travelers.

“We’re launching custom versions of GuideGeek with DMOs all around the country — Illinois is the latest,” says Matador Network CEO Ross Borden. “Creators like Michael and Vanessa have been instrumental in road testing this technology and helping us fine-tune it to the point that travel brands across the world see it as a key part of their future.”

After their trip around the world, Motamedi and Salas have decided to return to one of their favorite stops on their journey for an extended stay: Barcelona.

“I love the food, and the ability to walk down the Gothic Quarter and get some chorizo and wine and just hang out with the people,” says Motamedi. “There’s so much more to discover in this city, and GuideGeek is going to continue to be a huge help.”

Motamedi and Salas also recently launched a podcast called No Fixed Address: The World’s Most Extraordinary People featuring interviews with some of the most remarkable individuals they encounter in their travels. Recent guests include a cuteness expert in Japan and Grammy-winner Macy Gray. Subscribe on services like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and follow Michael Motamedi on TikTok.

About Matador Network

Matador Network is the world’s No. 1 media brand for modern adventurers. With more than 16 million followers across social media, Matador has become a leading travel brand through its production of article features, city guides, creator-first content and original videos. Matador is the top-ranking travel brand on TikTok and its videos are viewed more than 140 million times per month. It has content distribution deals with American Airlines, Hearst Media and GSTV, and works with brands like Ford, REI, Samsung, YETI, Southwest Airlines, Visit California and Microsoft. Fast Company named Matador Network a 2024 Most Innovative Company.

Media Contact:
Jason Simms

SOURCE Matador Network