The Travel-Booking App That's Easier Than Kayak
Hyper is a personal travel agent that books all your travel via text message
The Kayaks and Expedias of the world are putting travel agents out of business left and right. But you know what? Having a real expert wade through all the tricks and traps of booking your trip is pretty damn helpful. Since actual human-to-human contact is just UNTHINKABLE these days, the brains behind the new Hyper app bridged the convenience of modern tech with the quality control of a live person. Now you can plan trips, book flights and hotels, and manage all manner of travel reservations, all via text. Here's what you need to know.
Who should download it right now: Frequent travelers who don't have time to waste coordinating their itinerary details
Where to get it: iTunes App Store
The breakdown: Pandering to the millennial dream of never having to talk to people on the phone ever again, Hyper handles all your nitty-gritty travel-booking needs via text. It works like this: any time you need to book a trip, just send a text message outlining what you need. It can be as simple as "I need to be in LA next Tuesday afternoon for a meeting, and I’ll also need a car and a place to stay." Or, get super specific if you have a certain budget, want a specific type of rental car, or need to get to where you're going by a particular time.
Within a few minutes, a real live AI-assisted human will respond and provide you with different itinerary options to swipe through -- for free! With hotels, the app makes it easy to pick and choose by providing photos and a glimpse at amenities. If you like what you see, you can book it right then. Or alternately, ask for something different ("Can you find a hotel a little closer to Downtown? With a pool?"), and it'll go back to the drawing board.
Do you prefer a window or aisle seat? Which airlines do you like, and which do you loathe with the fiery hatred of a thousand suns? Specify your preferences in your profile details when you first launch the app, and it'll try to accommodate you whenever possible. You can also sync the app up with your frequent-flyer accounts or any rewards programs you want factored into your fare.
In my experience it will also find you the most affordable options. In fact, when I asked Hyper to book me a flight to LA for the first week of May, it found a series of options roughly $15 cheaper than anything I could find on Kayak.
Besides the convenience, the best part of Hyper is that it's free -- at least when it comes to planning and booking. However, there are also a pair of premium paid versions that get you an even higher level of service. The $20-per-month Pro plan provides 24/7 access, the ability to cancel reservations or change your itinerary with a text, and the perk of having Hyper handle any customer service requests (lost luggage, etc.) on your behalf. There's also a $25-a-month Business option, which gets you everything in Pro, plus quite a few extras that make it easier to book group travel and manage your expenses.
What it's missing: Hyper should extend its utility by notifying frequent flyers when there are cheap flights or hotel deals in the cities they most regularly jet off to. For users who opt into the paid plans, integrating concierge services or the ability to request a driver would make travel even more seamless. Also on the wish list? Given the way Hyper's interface is designed, restaurant recommendations seem like a no-brainer -- you could shoot a text like "I need a great steakhouse in NYC to take clients" and the app could provide photos and reviews to swipe through. Then again, you have Thrillist for that.
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He prefers to book all travel via telegram.