Siri for travel, Desti, launches iPad app in public beta giving users their own “smart travel guide”

Siri for travel, Desti, launches iPad app in public beta giving users their own “smart travel guide” ...

SRI International has produced some remarkable technologies over the years, with the more recent notables including Siri, Trapit, Nuance, and many others. Today, another one of Siri’s siblings launches into public beta and it hopes to help make travel planning and discovery much smarter.

Desti is calling itself the smartest travel guide available for the iPad. Since 2011, this startup has utilized similar artificial intelligence technology similar to Siri, but instead of being all-knowing about everything, it’s focused on one vertical: travel. In its public beta period, the app will be able to help plan trips and experiences for just the Northern California region.

Desti screenshot home

Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and semantic search capabilities, Desti is said to be able to understand your intentions in planning a trip. From its demo, if you happen to be looking for a trip to Monterey Bay with the family, the app will conduct a search and pull up results that suit your needs. The company says the app has deep knowledge about specific geographical regions that help to provide it with much deeper information and context than what you might expect from other travel sites.

Desti screenshot home

Think about the last time you were planning a trip. Chances are that you needed to go to numerous websites just to get all the information to book your trip, perhaps going to the local tourism website, TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Kayak, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  With Desti, all of that goes away thanks to a knowledgebase that it claims contains an “ever-growing amount of travel data, photos, maps, and reviews”. The company says that Desti should be able to also tell you if a hotel is noisy or whether a small bed and breakfast is good for a romantic weekend — things that would be very important in planning any trip.

In addition to this massive knowledgebase, Desti has a social aspect to it. By connecting your social media accounts, the app will scan all the places that your friends have been in order to help provide the right recommendations to you. As more people are relying on their friends’ experience to make decisions, this seems only logical — so if your friends happened to also have kids like you and posted that they like a specific hotel, then Desti may take that into account when providing you with information.

Desti screenshot home

When you find what you’re looking for, whether it’s hotel, activities, shopping, or dining, you can add them into a collection to remember everything — think of it almost like an itinerary. Once you’ve planned your trip using Desti, you can share your plans with your family or friends through Facebook or by email.

Desti’s co-founder and CEO, Nadav Gur, says “Desti is about helping you discover and plan unique travel experiences — where to stay, what to do and where to dine, all beautifully presented and immediately available at the swipe of a finger for browsing, booking or sharing with your friends.”

The app is available for the iPad right now and is free to download.

Photo credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

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