Challenges and Project Objectives
Matching hotels data supplied though multiple sources has long been one of the toughest challenges in the industry. Apart from the difficulties of comparing across languages, the data provided is regularly patchy and riddled with errors.
At Skoosh, we worked on this project for nearly 2 years, dedicating senior members of both the product and I.T. departments before we finally accepted an in-house solution was not possible. At a certain point, every update to our algorithm was producing as many queries as it was resolving.
When we took this project to Neural Brothers the requirements we gave them was an automated solution which matched as much data as possible plus an interface to review and manually match the remainder.
Believing that the multiple connections between the data were core we took the project to a number of specialists in the area of neural science. Many were excited by the scale and challenge of the project and wanted to start immediately. Neural Brothers was the only company that took the time to understand everything Skoosh had tried up to that point and to explain to us exactly what was possible.
Neural Brothers/MTR Design have played a significant part in the evolution of Skoosh and we look forward to working with them again wherever possible.
— Dorian Harris, Owner at Skoosh
After extensive dialogue, Neural Brothers assured Skoosh that an entirely automated solution was impossible because even a manual review of the data wouldn't be sufficient without reference to other sources of information (websites, calling the hotels directly and so on). Instead they offered to develop and algorithm to highlight all the likely matches and a simple interface through which to manual review the matches.
Neural Brothers developed both the algorithm and the interface but the project didn't stop there. As we started to work on the interface we realized it would be ideal if the external checks we were making onto Google Maps and the hotels' websites could be built into the interface. Neural Brothers were happy to assist with each new development and they added each one so the interface grew to incorporate more than we originally planned for.
There were no Skoosh developers involved until the data was finally integrated back into our back-office. At this point the two teams started a dialogue and the Skoosh guys highly respected the Neural Brothers managers and developers knowledge and confidence.
The resulting interface is so simple to use that we have managed to outsource the manual matching, something we tried before on our in-house system with very poor results. It allows for a much easier review of data and mistakes have been minimized as a result.
Less than a month after the new data was launched the results of this project are beginning to show with a significant increase of previously untapped hotels beginning to sell.
One of the most impressive things about working with Neural Brothers was their ability to estimate time-frames and associated costs. I had never experienced that before and it took a lot of stress out of the project.
I would highly recommend Neural Brothers to anyone with similar projects in mind. They confidently told us from the outset what was possible. We have previously worked on countless I.T. projects at Skoosh and their level of professionalism is exceptional.
Neural Brothers have played a significant part in the evolution of Skoosh and we look forward to working with them again wherever possible.