Data Science in the Travel Industry
Huge amounts of data are being gathered daily from different sources such as websites, booking systems, weather forecasts, airport navigation systems, etc. All these data should be used somehow, and finding the way to use it is the task of data science. In the meantime, travel industry should be one of the most interested clients as there are endless opportunities.
Travel companies can and should use data to bring more satisfaction to their actual and potential customers. It can reduce waste and bring both income and customer loyalty. There are many ways to apply data science in the travel industry, here we will explain why it is important and what use possibilities there are now.
The Importance of Data Analysis for Travel Industry Businesses
While traveling, people leave endless trails of data on each stage of the journey. It happens because most tickets and hotels are being booked online along with cars, excursion services, and restaurants.
Basically, there is often a good chance to follow a traveler through the whole process to analyze big data and see where these travelers had to overcome any issues to suggest better experience for the next time.
Of course, there are many challenges on the way to collecting appropriate quality and quantity of data, but the science is moving fast in the right direction. It’s better to be ready for the advanced techniques by the moment they come to life.
How Travel Companies Can Use Data Science
Having a dedicated team working with data analytics is not a luxury anymore, it’s a reality for more than 60% of travel businesses (according to The State of Data in Travel Survey 2017). Data science comes in handy for many aspects of traveling. For example, it can be used to:
- Recommend travel destinations;
- Suggest the most appropriate flights;
- Predict problems and eliminate them;
- Increase brand loyalty;
- Assist with navigation;
- Send personalized letters for more convenience.
Each aspect can add value for the customers and improve the reputation of the company selling travel-related services. More to that, travel industry can truly blossom by becoming more customer-centric instead of just offering separate products like hotel rooms without synchronizing them with other needs of the clients.
Flight Schedule Optimization
Airports are often associated with crowds, delays, and stress. There are many chances that with the help of data science many problems can be solved before they become annoying for passengers.
Analysts can predict the most convenient and inconvenient time of flights, that is obvious. Of course, most people prefer daytime flights and so on. However, there is also a difference between time zones and duration of connections. For the sake of minimizing risks of security issues, airports can set different checkpoints for different destinations.
Analyzing different data can be helpful for establishing a more efficient schedule of flights. Results might even be unexpected. Maybe more people will fly instead of choosing other means of transportation.
Avoiding Travel Disruptions
On the way to a destination point, travelers may face different problems disrupting their journeys. That is something that disruption management gets to deal with. Data science can bring huge input into this area of travel industry.
Disruption management always requires immediate reaction and instant response. For examples, thousands of flights are delayed and hundreds are canceled daily. People hate it, but they actually have to keep that in mind before each journey. It would be better to predict such disruptions and make sure that the losses are mitigated for both companies and clients.
Such predictions can be done by data science specialists. They base their reports on current delays, weather and many more data available from the airport monitoring systems. Thus, contingency plans can be put into action before the process actually gets disrupted.
Data Science in Travel Companies: Use Cases
As we mentioned above, data science has already opened a wide variety of opportunities for the travel industry. There are different tools that proved their efficiency for better planning and performance of the companies in the travel industry. They are mostly used for the flight booking now, but can successfully be applied in other areas of travel and hospitality.
For instance, hotel prices change all the time and it’s a challenge to track them manually. So, smart tools are more than in order. They can take into consideration flight fares and predict activity of guests for different periods of time. It should not be just guessing; it should be knowing.
Based on data science, smart navigation assistance can be very efficient. It would not only serve as a generic guide but also provide a person with personalized recommendations in accordance with the data gathered from various sources actual for this particular person.
There is also a place for chatbots for the travel industry as they might take place of a whole assistance team that needs to have representatives speaking in different languages. Let the machine gather data, analyze it and, finally, use it to help the customer.
According to Gartner, 25% of customer support and service will be based on virtual assistance and incorporated IoT by 2018. It looks like the prediction was right.
Increasing Brand Loyalty
Using data science in planning trips can add credibility to any company in travel or hospitality industries. It is all about the level of client satisfaction here, and the results of analysis always aim at increasing that level.
For example, knowing what type of food the traveler chooses for the flight can be used to create useful tips on restaurants around the hotel where he/she booked a room. If you make it right, this customer is likely to choose your company from the long list of others while planning the next trip.
It is hard to find a website that doesn’t recommend something. You choose a sweater; it shows you five more that you might like and add to your card. The recommendation engine is an essential part of any modern platform, and the traveling industry is no exception when it comes to offering alternative options based on previous bookings.
When travelers book a flight to Rome, most booking platforms also suggest accommodations there as well as package deals including cars, spa or other amenities. However, let’s agree that it looks ridiculous when a recommender system shows a spa resort package deal to a sole business traveler. It can only be annoying. So, that is when data science helps to analyze what deals are to be suggested to particular clients.
Predictive analytics can definitely increase revenue by improving engagement and contributing to personalized user experience that is highly valued these days.
What could be easier than sending an email to clients on sales and deals, somebody could think so a while ago. But today such thinking is mostly forgotten. Generic emails go straight to trash often leading to client annoyance. Personalized emails are less disturbing; they have chances to actually be useful for the traveler. There can be:
- hotel price forecasting;
- flight fare forecasting;
- weather forecasting;
- useful tips on events;
- cultural advices helping to communicate;
- extra information based on personal data.
Using this information wisely for personalized emails, travel company can earn some extra points in the eyes of actual and potential customers.
There are innumerous applications of data science for travel industry, and not all of them are even used so far. Constant challenge is to keep balance between categorizing people too much and providing all the groups of the target audience with exactly what they need.
There are many advantages of using data science in the travel industry, and the biggest one is more understanding instead of guessing. The better you know your customers, the more services you can provide. At the same time, the more you provide, the more indispensable you become.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about application of data science in the travel industry and start using it to benefit your business.