How Hopper is using AI to change air travel
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How Hopper is using AI to change air travel

This article is part of our “How AI is changing the world” event series, held in San Francisco, New York, and Tel Aviv from June to November 2019, featuring insights by leading scientists and entrepreneurs on how AI will change healthcare, communication, agriculture, travel, and other industries. Check out all 12 talks here.

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With new apps like Hopper, AI is reaching consumers in the travel industry. Ella Alkalay, vice president of Data Science at Hopper, shared some insights about how Hopper predicts the cost of airline tickets so that users can time their purchase to catch the lowest cost.

Hopper has access to 50 trillion price itineraries, which enables the company to build models to determine how prices change over time. Ella underscored just how important timing is with an example of two passengers on the same flight, flying in the same class.

One passenger paid $200 for the flight while another paid $1,000. The reason for the difference: they purchased their tickets at different times. This is where Hopper’s data analytics can help. By analyzing historical patterns of price changes, Hopper can predict if prices are likely to go up or down in the future and help customers time their purchases.

Because travel apps like Hopper have only occasional interactions with users, it makes it more difficult to build individual profiles. However, because Hopper has such a large user base, it can identify similar types of customers and model recommendations on the characteristics of those cohorts.

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