New travel-writing robot shakes up industry

For travel writers, it’s getting increasingly hard to turn a phrase these days. Pay is down. Magazines and newspapers are closing left and right. In other words, it’s tougher than ever for aspiring writers to make a living. Now it seems there’s a new threat to the travel writing industry: the introduction of the Travelbot 5000, the world’s first robotic travel writer.

Unlike past attempts at writer replacement, the Travelbot 5000 offers cost-cutting publishers the most advanced travel “story delivery system” on earth. Enterprising editors need only program their desired GPS coordinates into the Travelbot’s computer, adjust the “Content Research and Production” (CRaP) dial to the desired output (off-the-beaten path, top ten list, human interest, hotel review) and the Travelbot 5000 uses its rocket-propulsion system to jet off to its destination, returning within a week with photos, videos, audio clips and a fully formed story, ready for publication.

Best of all, the Travelbot’s output is anything but mechanical. The bot is equipped with a pre-programmed database of travel-writing catchphrases, like “jaw-dropping views” and “best-kept secret” as well as a range of suitably highbrow metaphors to ensure each piece of work shines with unique style and attention grabbing quotes. Though the Travelbot’s hefty price tag of $50,000 seems steep, many travel publications see the cost as a long-term investment. According to Seymour Hitz, President of Travel Publishers Inc., “The Travelbot helps our member publications save money while still ensuring readers can enjoy the mix of cute animal photos and sexy flight attendant travel content they’ve come to expect.”

No reaction yet on the Travelbot from travel writers. Ike Anturnafraiz, head of the Travel Writers Union of America, was at the bar and could not be reached for comment.