A mobile application called Hopper, out today on iTunes, is using data and analysis from “billions” of flight prices in order to tell travelers when they should fly and buy tickets. The company claims that it’s able to save users as much as 40 percent on flights, and in 95 percent of cases will get you a cheaper flight or one that’s at least the same price as you would have otherwise found elsewhere. By monitoring trip prices 24/7 and further in advance, Hopper says your chances of scoring a deal increase.
The idea of using historical pricing trends to predict fare decreases is not new. Back in 2008, for example, Microsoft snatched up airline price prediction tool Farecast for $115 million. Today, the usage of price-tracking data is par for the course, with companies like Kayak, Priceline, Skyscanner, FareCompare and others leveraging similar data to offer fare suggestions to future travelers in some form or another.
But Hopper has been building out its “Price Prediction” tool for some time in order to focus specifically on the challenge of helping users get the best flight deals. The company says that it found that only about one-third of the time is the current price the best you’ll get – the other two-thirds of the time, you could have saved more.
It also noted that there’s no “best day” to book, but consumers often miss the chance to snag a lower fare because they’re only spot-checking for changes and decreases. With Hopper, the idea is that you can monitor a particular route continuously using its “Watch a Trip” feature, which gives you a better chance at catching a better fare. When the fare drops, Hopper can alert you via a push notification, which can also inform you if the price isn’t likely to fall further. It can notify you if fares are about to increase, as well.
Another feature, “When To Fly,” also helps travelers by visually color-coding dates so it’s easier to see when the best travel days are to save more money. The app helps you discover the cheaper airports, too.
Before the launch of its mobile app today, Hopper has been growing its presence on the web, where it now sees several million users. The company employs research scientists to build out its data set, using its Global Distribution System, which includes around 10 million flight search queries and several billion priced round-trip flights per day. The data available on the web and in the app are both free for end users today, as the company tells us the focus so far has been on growth, not revenue.
However, Hopper says that it will have a big product announcement on the monetization front in a few months.
This is the company’s second mobile application that uses its airline pricing data. Hopper previously launched a last-minute travel deals app called Flight Tonight.
The new flagship Hopper iOS app is available for free here on iTunes.