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The Priceline hotel site is looking for Big Data expertise in Israel

If you’re guaranteeing the best price for a hotel, you need a lot of math and big data in the background to make sure that you won’t be out-rated by a discounter whose lower price on a booking might force you to refund some money. Agoda.com, a subsidiary of the international travel site Priceline, offers such a guarantee – and to provide the big data and math necessary to ensure the site can produce the right price, Agoda is turning to Israeli talent.

In a post on LinkedIn, Agoda said it was looking to hire for its new “research center of excellence” in Tel Aviv. We are looking for high level talent to join us. This is a very high level position, where you will be working on some of the most difficult challenges within the Data Science team. “

Earlier this year, Priceline acquired Israeli advertising technology start-up Qlika. “Priceline is looking to invest more in talent acquisition in Israel for all companies in the portfolio,” the source said. “The travel site Booking.com already has an office here, and Kayak, another travel site, could be next.”

Agoda.com is a booking site that offers service in 38 languages ​​and covers the full range of accommodation. Originally a start-up located in Bangkok, Agoda was acquired by Priceline in 2011 to allow it to develop rapidly in the accommodation market in Asia. Market analysts say the acquisition has been a big boost to Priceline’s bottom line, helping the company increase its market share in the highly competitive online accommodation reservation space.

One of the factors that made Agoda popular is its Lowest Price Guarantee – meaning that if you book a room on the site and get a cheaper deal from another bona fide website, Agoda will match that. fare or will beat it. While many companies offer this type of warranty for all kinds of products and services, not all of them measure up, but according to the general consensus on online travel forums, Agoda does.

No retailer – or website – likes to give money back once it’s been paid, if only because of the hassle, paperwork, and extra expense (processing fees, etc.) involved, so to avoid this Agoda needs to make sure it produces the right price the first time around. It requires in-depth analysis of a lot of data – competing prices online and offline, weather trends (bad weather can bring prices down on some days), what are the latest hot vacation spots, calendar events (if there are any). upcoming festivals / conventions / holidays), labor issues (possible airline / train / staff strikes in one location), current events (unrest, political tensions) and a thousand more details. All of these factors go into the price that Agoda presents for a booking, correlating, of course, with the hotel’s seasonal pricing policies, the characteristics of the stay (bed / breakfast, full board, etc.) and other information specific to the hotel or location.

Obviously, an Excel spreadsheet won’t do. Big data analytics is the only way to juggle all this information within seconds that a potential customer will be willing to wait for a price when requesting a reservation. It is the big data capabilities and mathematical expertise of Israeli technicians that Agoda and Priceline will be looking for in their new “science data officer” in Tel Aviv, according to the LinkedIn post.

Agoda Tel Aviv’s job posting states that the successful candidate will have the following responsibilities: “Apply your expertise in mathematics, quantitative analysis, data mining and machine learning to develop models and algorithms to improve the performance of various aspects of online accommodation reservations; Decide if specific problems can be solved and how they can be solved based on raw data sets; Work with business areas and develop predictive models and algorithms to support business decisions; Develop automated data systems that convert noisy data sets into meaningful signals of user behavior and suggest alternative problem solving methods; Explore new technologies, innovative instrumentation and data collection to develop and use unique data sources ”, and others.

“We choose people who are dedicated to doing great things, who are able to push the boundaries and who understand that great products come from great ideas,” Agoda says of himself. “Our industry is changing rapidly, and we have to do it too – but we’re having a good time doing it. Israel, the company apparently believes, is a place where it can find personnel who push the boundaries to develop the cutting-edge products it seeks to develop.

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