36Hopper: Using Artificial Intelligence To Travel For Less

Hopper is a mobile app-based platform that uses machine learning and huge volumes of historical flight data to predict the best time to buy flights.

Launched in 2015, the company announced in 2017 that it had grown to the point that it was being used to book $1 million worth of flights every day. In 2018, it said that its total sales are quickly approaching $1 billion a year, and it has plans to double its staff in the next year.1

What Problem Is Artificial Intelligence Helping To Solve

We've all been there – scanning price comparison sites to find the best price for a holiday flight or weekend getaway, and wondering whether we could save money if we wait another week. At the same time, “fear of missing out” is likely to kick in – telling us that if we do wait, we may very well miss out on the best prices.

It's a problem that's emerged thanks to what was originally supposed to be an efficiency-driving change – the removal of the “middle man” – the knowledgeable travel agent – from the process.

However, it turns out those supposedly surplus-to-requirements middle men (and women) actually played a pretty important role. Their specialist knowledge about the seasonal or day-to-day fluctuations of air fares could often end up saving us money.

How Is Artificial Intelligence Used In Practice?

In effect, what Hopper does is replace the old-fashioned human travel agent with an artificial intelligence (AI) travel agent. ...

Get Artificial Intelligence in Practice now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.