Travel companies have been slow to integrate elements like predictive modeling and next-best-action marketing into their applications. If you aren’t familiar with what those are, it’s part of what some E-commerce websites use to make recommendations and results seem eerily relevant to your preferences.
The features offered by most travel applications likely appear superfluous to you if you’re a business traveler. This is because traveling on business generally involves repeated visits to certain locations at regular intervals, and not the romanticized idea of travel that most services try to sell customers (swimming with dolphins, sampling local cuisines etc).
When you’ve been on business trips to a particular part of the world multiple times, you know exactly how you want to get there (flights, timings, cabin type and such), and where you want to stay while you’re there. In such a case, a travel website search results page with hundreds of options may not be relevant to your needs. Also, you may stand to pile on loyalty points with airlines and hotel chains over time, but the website or application through which you make travel arrangements may not be smart enough to watch out for such opportunities.
It’s this problem that soon-to-launch travel application Cinch is looking to address.
Cinch was founded by Gadi Bashvitz, who decided to take up the cause of business travelers after being one himself for a long time. With over 2 million miles of travel under his belt on professional assignments, Bashvitz realized most websites in the travel industry focus on offering a large volume of flights and hotels to users instead of finding out what their preferences are and tailoring results based on them.
To address this issue, Bashvitz put together a team of travel industry veterans, big data experts, and natural language processing engineers at OLSET, which is the parent company of Cinch. OLSET characterizes itself as an Information as a Service (IaaS) software company which uses its arsenal of big data mining techniques to make bookings quicker and more intuitive.
To understand exactly what each airline and hotel chain offers, Cinch combs through reviews on sites like TripAdvisor using its natural language processing algorithms. From this, it’s able to glean insights on amenities and quality of service at different establishments, which it factors into search results.
Cinch also constantly analyzes its users. Using machine learning, the application begins to piece together an understanding of frequent routes and preferences on each of them. So when a booking is initiated, Cinch combines its reading on the user with what it’s learned about various flights and hotels from reviews to make the best possible recommendations. Additionally, the app breaks down the reason for each suggestion it’s made and asks for user feedback on it. This feedback contributes to improving search results in the future.
Here’s what Marketing Director Andrew Miller had to say of the company’s plans: “The company has been growing on the back of its deep domain expertise, patented technology and travel industry partnerships. Given what we know about the space, the technology, and most importantly business travelers, we expect Cinch to be the tool these travelers have desperately needed since travel booking first moved online. We expect to grow in parallel with the business travel industry. We will be growing via multiple channels – partnerships with other companies in the travel space, making a strong push in the mobile app advertising space, and reaching out to SMBs with frequent travelers in their ranks.”
Cinch will launch its private Beta in November. The first public release will be made in January.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.
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