MIDS Capstone Project Fall 2015


Tourism is a $1.2 trillion industry. However, existing travel websites haven’t changed much over the years. They all have the same formula for recommending locations: expert opinions and user reviews. These types of recommendations are very impersonal and rely on the user to do the research to figure out what is best for them. The travel website space is ripe for disruption.

Instaplaces caters to the next generation of tech-savvy travelers. These are people who are just starting to plan their next vacation and are looking to explore hidden gems that are selected just for them - locations that are off the beaten path and not on any impersonal, cookie-cutter “Top 10” lists.

Leveraging traditional recommender systems in these situations is impossible without prior knowledge of user preferences. With over 400 million active users, Instagram provides a media-rich, social dataset that reveals a user’s styles and preferences. Instaplaces leverages this dataset to provide recommendations, in these situations where traditional methods fall flat. Moreover, by finding similar Instagram users and determining which locations they’ve visited, we can provide unique, hyper-personalized recommendations for each user. Rather than canned lists created by a few experts, Instaplaces produces better recommendations through the collective opinions of similar users.

Ultimately, hyper-personalized recommendations is a differentiating factor that can increase user engagement and lead ultimately to more conversions for travel sites. This is a huge opportunity for monetization.

Start at instaplaces.co, login using Instagram.

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Last updated:

March 30, 2017