A lot of people are confused or intimidated by the term ‘big data,’ but it’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, more and more travel companies are relying on big data to improve and streamline their operations, boost profits, and provide a better overall experience for their customers.
These days, travel companies are collecting more user data than ever before, and the smart ones are putting that information to good use. Big data analytics, when used properly, can create a competitive advantage in today’s inter-connected and rapidly-changing travel industry.
For example, customers today can go onto a travel website and view a personalized list of vacation destinations based on their preferences, get a choice of the best airlines, preferred seating locations, hotel and car rental options, entertainment possibilities and more.
Let’s take a closer look at how Big Data is being used to transform various sectors of the travel industry.
Big Data’s Impact on Travel Agencies
The reams of information gleaned from big data is proving to be a boon for travel agencies. Now they have the ability to create profiles for each customer, and use that information to put together personalized travel packages for them. This applies to both business travelers as well as tourists. Big data takes the guesswork out of travel planning, and travel suggestions can be segmented according to age group, income level, interests and hobbies, family size and more. Most online travel agencies don’t have the resources to handle this much information themselves, so they’re partnering with big data companies like Datavisor to crunch the numbers for them.
How the Airline Industry is Leveraging Big Data
All the major airlines have invested heavily into big data analytics. For example, British Airways uses their “Know Me” feature to collect in-depth information about their customers, then uses that data to provide a personalized experience for those customers. This results in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, increased revenue, and positive word-of-mouth advertising for their company. For example, a customer could enter a random query like ‘When are the cheapest flights to Kanto Japan available?’ or ‘Can I travel somewhere for $700?’ and receive specific results right away.
How the Hotel Industry is Benefiting from Big Data Analytics
The hotel industry is another sector that is taking advantage of big data to exceed customer expectations and provide a stellar user experience. By gathering information on the preferences of their loyal customers, hotels can send out personalized deals and promotions. For example, if a hotel knows what time of year a customer tends to travel, they can offer that customer a special rate during those times, along with suggested rooms, activities, and other services to enhance the traveler’s experience.
Early Adopters Are Reaping the Benefits of Big Data
With then intense competition in the travel industry across all sectors, smart companies are using big data analytics as part of their overall marketing efforts. Knowing more about their target customers, these companies can optimize their marketing by tailoring their message to a specific traveler based on their needs and requirements. Targeted offers can be crafted and delivered to the right place and at the right time, allowing for higher conversions of prospects to customers. GPS technology is also being used to deliver relevant, real-time offers no matter where the traveler is located.
While not every travel company is on board with this move toward big data analytics, the early adopters of this technology are sure to have a leg up on their travel sector competitors. Additional benefits of using user data include improved customer support, development of new products and services, and streamlined operations for greater efficiency and higher profits.
By: Vincent Stokes
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