The Daily Valet. - 2/13/24, Tuesday

Tuesday, February 13th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Do you have any upcoming trips planned? I just touched down in Tokyo again and am ready to start exploring.

Today’s Big Story

The Travel Agent Is Back


Only this time, the “agent” is an AI bot. Welcome to the future of travel planning.


Travel is a tricky thing to plan. No one wants a generic trip, and yet so many of us want to ensure we check off all the “must-see” spots while also discovering some new unplanned for surprises. Which is why we often rely on experts—in the past that was a trusted travel agent, today it might be a YouTuber or another influencer. But in the very near future, it may very well be an AI bot.

People are already using ChatGPT to plan out larger, more complicated trips, like honeymoons, reports The Verge—even if it’s a little embarrassing to admit it. But they also point out that the travel industry is often “a gateway for new technology to go from early adoption to mass use.” Edie Cohen, a travel agent with more than 50 years of experience, explained how phone calls and reservations written on index cards gave way to teletype and then fax. The “fixed-price family flight bundles became dynamic pricing algorithms.” The work grew faster and more automated.

And while Priceline and Orbitz made booking cheap flights and hotels simple, what the internet didn’t have a tightly packaged answer for was travel planning. That’s where so many AI evangelists believe the technology can excel at. According to a global survey commissioned by Expedia Group, the average traveler spends more than five hours researching a trip and reviews 141 pages of content—for Americans, it’s a whopping 277 pages. That’s a lot of time, right? Instead of sifting through Yelp and Google reviews or relying on a mix of online magazine articles and Lonely Planet guides, artificial intelligence can do all the work for you.

What could that look like? The hope is that AI will not only plan itineraries, but communicate with hotels, draft travel budgets, even function as a personal travel assistant—and in the process fundamentally alter the way companies approach travelers. Which is who so many apps, from Vacay and Trip Planner AI to Roam Around and have popped up.

Of course, these are still early days. Fodor’s Travel (who might have some skin in this game) warns that, at least right now, they’re not all that reliable. In fact, Heather Stimmler, an expat living in Paris who wrote Fodor’s France guides from 2005 to 2015 and has found that AI-generated tour guides of the classic city are way off the mark. So keep that in mind the next time you start planning an upcoming trip.

As a sign of just how big AI is getting, Nvidia (the industry's leading chipmaker) briefly overtook Amazon in market value on Monday.

Violent Crime Is Dropping Fast in the U.S.


But many Americans don’t believe it. Why?

First the bad news: In 2020, the United States experienced one of its most dangerous years in decades. The number of murders across the country surged by nearly 30% between 2019 and 2020, according to FBI statistics. And the overall violent crime rate inched up around 5% in the same period. But last year, crime in America looked very different.

“There was just a tipping point where violence started to fall and it just continued to fall,” Jeff Asher, a crime analyst told NPR. In cities big and small, from both coasts, violence (everything from murder to assault and serious robberies) has dropped. But when you ask people about crime in the country, the perception is it's getting a lot worse out there.

A Gallup poll released in November found 77% of Americans believed there was more crime in the country than the year before. And 63% felt there was either a “very” or “extremely” serious crime problem—the highest in the poll's history going back to 2000. Why? Well, it could be an increased focus on crime from right-wing leaning media. Or it could be the fact that while the murder rate is down, mass shootings are up, with 2023 the second-worst year for mass shootings on record, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Couple that with some cities (such as D.C. and Dallas) experiencing more violence lately, and it could skew perceptions.

Dig Deeper:
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told ABC News that she believed increased federal support to law enforcements targeting illegal guns has helped drive down crime.

A Blockbuster Deal for Michael Jackson’s Catalog


And the ‘richest music catalog deal to date’ would only give Sony half of the catalog

Sony has agreed to pay around $600 million to acquire half of Michael Jackson's catalog. According to reports, this will be the richest transaction ever for a single musician’s work, as music rights continues to drive deal making across the music and media industries.

Not only does this “record” deal value the overall catalog at a whopping $1.2 billion, but Jackson’s estate will retain a good amount of control over the songs. That contrasts with many other blockbuster catalog deals in recent years, like those with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon. While those sales sometimes include finely negotiated parameters over how an artist’s work can be used in the future—say, in commercials or political endorsements—they generally hand over management of songs to a buyer.

Included in the deal are some of Jackson's biggest hits like "Beat It" and "Bad", but Bloomberg reports, it leaves some of the estate’s interests in other lucrative Jackson-related businesses off the table, like the Broadway musical “MJ”, Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson-themed shows, and a biopic in the works that is set to star Jaafar Jackson, a son of Jackson’s brother Jermaine.


Tiger Woods Introduces His New Brand


The golf legend, whose longtime relationship with Nike ended last month, is partnering with TaylorMade

After weeks of speculation, Tiger Woods officially unveiled his new Sun Day Red clothing line at an event in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon. The announcement comes days before Woods is set to make his return to the course at the Genesis Invitational, which will mark his first tournament back on Tour since he withdrew from the Masters last April.

You might recall that last month, the golf legend ended his three-decade run with Nike, which had made him hundreds of millions of dollars. The partnership was marked by memorable ads and, of course, the red Nike shirts that Woods wore during many final rounds on Sundays.

He may have a new look, but the signature red (which he credits his mother for encouraging him to wear “a power color”), is sticking around. Along with his new brand sponsor, TaylorMade Golf, the Sun Day Red brand is launching with two golf shirts, two hoodies, a full-zip jacket and a quarter-zip pullover. In addition to the apparel, Golf Digest reports that samples of golf shoes, gloves, headcovers, ballmarkers and hats have been spotted. And while the brand’s website is live, product won't be available until May 1.

By the Numbers:
Woods currently has 82 PGA TOUR wins, tied with Sam Snead, holding the record for most wins in history.

Simple Stylish Storage Solutions


These smart pieces will save you space and make your place look bigger


It’s a fundamental truth about interior design: Do you want your space to look larger and more stylish? You can't have a lot of crap then cluttering up your home. The key to a put-together interior is that everything appears to have a place. The easiest way to achieve this intentional aesthetic is by keeping your stuff organized and stowing away any unsightly piles. Make sure everything has a place and that place should be as stylish as the rest of your home.

You don't have to embrace a minimalist's life or give up the items that you love, just stash your belongings on some smart shelves, slid under the bed or inside a handsome console or cabinet. We asked around and shopped some underrated sources to find you the best buys for your money. Below, you'll find a handful of solutions that will help you declutter the most commonly messy areas of a home. You may not need all of these, but we're guessing a few could certainly come in handy.



What We’re Buying




How's your chino rotation looking? If your wardrobe is lacking, now's the time to refresh your collection. The great thing about this versatile staple is that it can be whatever type of pant you need it to be. Want it to be relaxed or ready for movement? Size up and enjoy a roomier fit—perhaps with a touch of stretch. Looking for something a little more rarefied or polished? Try an old school pair or one with pleats and pair them with some nice loafers. Best of all, some of our favorite pairs are downright affordable. In fact, none on this list are over a hundred bucks.

Get It:
1960 U.S. Army chino, $55.99 by Bronson Mfg. Co.

Morning Motto

Start small.





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