Each day, 1.5 billion travelers around the world are interacting with the travel ecosystem. In doing so they create vast amounts of data from their online and offline transactions. A traveller will search extensively before finalising their trip, from potential destinations, accommodation and transportation options, to weather forecasts and local cuisine reviews. They will book their tickets, accommodation, sightseeing tours and activities. And they will finish their journey long after their return, leaving their digital trail of where they went, where they stayed, places they visited, their likes and dislikes in the form of ratings, photos, comments, videos, check-ins and many many more.
In the multi-trillion dollar travel industry, brands who manage to harness and capitalise on this knowledge to provide contextually relevant experiences and shape customer interactions based on needs and wants, will win the game.
How can brands in the travel industry benefit from Big Data analytics?
- Personalised customer experience: This is the new buzz word in the travel industry. When a company matches its offline data with its customers’ digital identities, critical parts of the consumer journey become connected, leading to better marketing strategies, robust targeting, cross-channel addressability, and more accurate insights and consistent measurement. This unified view will help create highly personalised, unique offers brought to the customer at the right price, at the right time and through the right channels.
- Competitive advantage: Internet is full of reviews, ratings and feedbacks from almost every traveller. Through Big Data analytics, companies can track each word and create ‘Word Clouds’*. Studying each word cloud can reveal whether the overall feedback for a tour was positive or negative, which places customers liked the most, which restaurant got higher ratings, and which dish got maximum thumbs-up. A company operating in this industry can take advantage of this information to update its offering based on historic and real-time customer feedback, and create a unique differentiation from its competitors.
- Operational efficiency: For companies with operations in multiple locations, Big Data analytics will allow them to study each location as a cluster of data. Studying these clusters in isolation and in tandem, reveals valuable insights across all functions, that would otherwise be impossible or very hard to get. Are there locations needing more resource in certain periods, days or times of day? Is there a need to introduce one more flight for a particular route? What type of car is more popular for rental in each location? Are variations in costs among locations justified? Are there hidden opportunities for achieving economies of scale?
- Price optimisation through customer insights: Let's face it. With companies like booking.com, tripadvisor and trivago on the rise, price is no longer an industrial secret. If a company wants to make it big in this industry, it must be able to have a competitive offering. With Big Data analytics, a company can have a real time view of the current offers from competition, which, combined with information related to the preferences and the budget range of the traveler, will enable it to make informed decisions fast, optimise its offering and protect or grow its share.
- Time to Market: Big Data analytics can be a catalyst in turning a business idea into a pilot project and into a fully operational unit. Big Data analytics will help assess not only the level of acceptance for a service or a product by potential customers, but also the root cause behind the outcomes at each stage, enabling a company to refine and accelerate its time to market strategy. With Big Data analytics, assumptions can be tested and problems can be addressed before they become costly mistakes.
Without question, the data trails consumers leave when they travel are massive and many newcomers have appeared in the recent years succeeding solely thanks to their capability to leverage these data. But for the majority of companies within this highly competitive industry that contributes 10% to the world’s GDP, gaining access to and making sense of these data represents a long path, often marked with failed attempts. From our experience, there are two key success factors for any company that wants to embark on the Big Data journey -plan carefully and start small. We often see companies sourcing solutions without a clear definition of what their expectations are, or a blueprint of how the technology will be integrated with their infrastructures and data depots. Planning ahead will help avoid costly mistakes, whereas starting with a small project and gradually scale up will allow for better decision making, faster uptake and eventually improved ROI.
*A ‘Word Cloud’ is a visualisation method that displays how frequently words appear on a given topic.
If you would like to find out more about how Big Data could help you make the most out of your current infrastructure while enabling you to open your digital horizons, do give us a call at +44 (0)203 475 7980 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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