BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Expedia.com (NASDAQ: EXPE), the world's largest online travel company, today released information on its commitment to developing its internal data science program. The company recently worked with the IEEE organizers to sponsor their International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM) data mining contest. The results were vast and, as a result, Expedia.com has committed to participating in additional ventures related to data science, big data, and machine learning in the near future.
One of the first companies to take travel booking to the internet, Expedia.com has long been a business founded on technology. Today's technology advancements have opened doors to build intelligent, responsive algorithms that yield travel results catered to individual customers. Common booking difficulties among travelers – such as deciding how to choose a hotel based on its amenities, size, and price – can be addressed using algorithms built on classical statistics. But as the travel industry gathers more information about booking trends, it has become clear that investing in algorithms based on machine learning is the most effective path to discover and present the best offers to Expedia.com customers.
Expedia.com recently sponsored the annual ICDM data mining competition, which focused on utilizing a large hotel search data set to rank search results as a means to increase sales. Entrants were directed to predict the optimal order of displaying results for an online hotel search based on some of the following criteria: hotel attributes, customer purchase history and price competitiveness."Search is at the core of our business so it is vital to continuously evaluate new approaches," said John Kim, senior vice president of global product at Expedia.com. "We want to find opportunities to allow the broader community to provide input on industry-wide data science challenges; it was it was exhilarating to see over 300 submissions by some of the best minds in the world. Some interesting techniques were presented which we will continue to consider as we evolve our understanding of this dynamic space." Expedia.com has spent the past few years overhauling its technology underpinnings to support this type of big data research and implementation. The company, which sees millions of daily visits from customers across the world, aims to present the best travel solutions to its global user base.