Hotels.com is one of the world’s leading accommodation booking websites featuring an inventory of around 300.000 hotels and 100s of millions of users. A crucial part of our business is to act as an agent between these two sides of the market, thus reducing search costs and information asymmetries to enable our visitors to find the right hotel in the most efficient way.
From this point of view selling hotels is one large recommendation challenge: given a set of items and a set of observed choices/ratings, identify a user’s preference profile. Over the last years this particular problem has been intensively studied by a strongly interdisciplinary field based on ideas from choice theory, linear algebra, statistics, computer science and machine learning. This pluralism is reflected in the broad array of techniques that are used in today’s industry applications, i.e. collaborative filtering, matrix factorization, graph-based algorithms, decision trees or generalized linear models.
The aim of this workshop is twofold.
Firstly we want to give some insight into the statistical modelling techniques and assumptions employed at hotels.com, the practical challenges one has to face when designing a flexible and scalable recommender system and potential gaps between current research and real-world applications.
Secondly we are going to consider some more advanced questions around learning to rank from partial/incomplete feedback (1), dealing with selection-bias correction (2) and how econometrics and behavioral theory (eg Luce, Kahneman /Tversky) can be used to complement existing techniques (3).
- Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops