The Best Update ever from Hitlist (#29)

This Friday I met an Apple engineer who said Hitlist was the best designed and executed app he’s ever seen. Kudos to the engineering/content team (Tomislav, Sam, Ludo, and Zoe) for earning this!

On to our regularly scheduled update. At Hitlist, we love mining the millions of interactions our users take for insights on why, where, and when people travel. With this information, we can help people take their dream trips without breaking the bank.

This month’s focus: DATA. As we’ve worked on building out the ‘AI’ that powers our recommendations, we have encountered a TON of companies who claim to be able to help mine data. So this month’s ask: Are there any ‘AI’ companies, tools, or advice that people really like or have found effective? We’re looking for things that can help dive into complex user interactions and find the best-converting funnels.

Sorry to the non-technical people on this list, I know that was a bit jargony. Moving on.

Last month’s focus was GROWTH. I asked for help finding the ‘influencers’ in our user base and the most recommended resource was Clearbit. It seems expensive at our size (better for smaller/more targeted groups), and we decided not to invest as we continue to see decent organic growth. This isn’t tapering off, but we want to be growing faster. More to do here.

Updates

  • We brought on two biz dev people to help on our work with destinations — Tom Limongello and Anais Tadlaoui. This brings the total number of languages spoken fluently by the Hitlist team to eight (adding Chinese and Portuguese).
  • Shipped v4.1, with a new integration with Tablet hotels.
  • One of our business partners, Travana, shut its doors with no warning, shorting us on commission and, more importantly, cutting off a stream of data that was giving us insights into our users’ activity. We’re looking forward to integrating with new flight search partners to take its place (next up: Kiwi).
  • I spoke at ITB in Berlin and SXSW in Austin, both great experiences that led to useful connections.

Upcoming/gifts!

  • I’ll be giving one of the keynote talks at Travel Tech Con, an independent travel industry conference dedicated to startups and technologies that will transform travel in the next few years. May 22–24th in San Francisco, use code ‘friends-of-hitlist’ for 15% off tickets.
  • If you hate scheduling meetings, are interested in AI, or had a crush on Ava in Ex Machina, check out Amy from x.ai, an AI personal assistant who schedules meetings. Amy has changed my life. Sign up here with coupon code GILLIAN for a month of the pro edition free.

Why Hitlist matters:

There’s a distinct correlation between the % of a state’s population that has a passport and their voting habits. Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but if there’s any chance that encouraging people to get passports (by tempting them with sweet flight deals) can lead to a more liberal country, I’m all for it.

Gif of the month: we call this ‘can’t stop won’t stop’