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Travel-booking app Hopper just got a lot of money to spend on AI

Travel-booking app Hopper just got a lot of money to spend on AI
[Photo: Luke Pamer/Unsplash]

Hopper, everyone’s favorite travel-booking and price-predicting app, just got a whole bunch of new money to play with. The company said today that it has secured $100 million in Series D financing led by OMERS Ventures, including new investment from existing investors and newcomer Citi Ventures, bringing the company’s total funding to date to $184 million.

The company says it will use the money to hire new employees and help take its all-mobile flight-booking services global, and to expand its use of artificial intelligence in the travel-wooing process.

Currently, 25% of Hopper’s bookings are the result of AI making well-timed suggestions of trips, meaning users are booking trips they didn’t explicitly search for but the app knew to suggest. (For instance, if you search for Amsterdam, but there’s a bargain on tickets to New Amsterdam, or even somewhere allegedly real, like Copenhagen, the app might suggest it.) The AI is already so good at its job that Hopper says the conversion rates on AI-based recommendation notifications are 2.6 times higher than ones for which the users explicitly searched.

Now that it has a whole bunch of cash to play with, Hopper is hoping to expand on its use of machine learning and AI to tell people where they want to go on vacation before they even know. Hopefully, this tech will help remind people to actually use their vacation days, too.

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