Opportunities & Challenges in Personalised Travel

by Neal Lathia (Skyscanner)


Recommendation and personalised systems are now ubiquitous across the web- we have come to expect our online experiences to be tailored and shaped by our preferences. However, when it comes to travel and tourism, many experiences are still driven by distance (what is close) and price (what is cheap): and these approaches have worked well for a long time. Can personalisation really help? The travel domain is characterised by some unique challenges that span the data, interaction patterns, algorithms, and user expectations. In this talk, I’ll discuss these challenges in the context of previous research about personalisation in urban settings, and current research at Skyscanner to create new features in our products.

About the speaker

Neal Lathia is a Senior Data Scientist at Skyscanner in London. His work has always focused on data-driven applications; this journey has spanned digital health monitoring, smartphone sensors and applications, urban computing, online recommender systems, and the analysis of ‘big’ data sets of transport records, and financial transactions. He has a PhD and MSci in Computer Science, both from University College London: his PhD research introduced methods for evaluating collaborative filtering algorithms over time.

Previously, he was an entrepreneur in Accelerate Cambridge at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, a Senior Research Associate in the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, an honorary Research Associate in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland, a Research Associate in the Department of Computer Science at University College London, and a visiting researcher at Telefonica Research.

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