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Leveraging Web Scraping to Extract Airfare Data from OTAs

August 27, 2021Category : Blog Travel
Leveraging Web Scraping to Extract Airfare Data from OTAs

Use web scraping to extract flight data from OTAs and airlines’ websites to give your customers the best possible start to their holiday experience.

For any service-oriented business, customer happiness and satisfaction is paramount. And if you’re in travel, providing customers the best holiday experience is always priority number one. After all, happy customers mean repeat business, and they’re your most important asset to bring in more clients and revenue.

Flight ticket prices are one of the key influencing factors alongside accommodations and activity packages when planning a holiday. Therefore service providers must provide customers the best travel arrangements. As businesses become more data-driven, they analyze what their competitors are doing, how airlines and OTAs are setting ticket prices, and use these insights to make better decisions.

Getting flights and ticketing data from various sources — OTAs, airlines and competitors — is the most effective way to improve your own decision-making. And the best way to collect such data is by using web scraping.

Benefits of Extracting Flight Data

Data doesn’t lie. Basing each action on insights via flight data from OTAs and other external sources has numerous short-term and long-term benefits.

#1: Real-Time Pricing Updates

Airline ticket prices fluctuate a lot, especially during travel seasons and holidays, when they change by the minute. If you’re dependent on external sources for the flight information your customers receive, it’s important that that data is always accurate and timely. You do not want customers to pay either more or less than the actual rates. While discounts are always welcome, you need to be mindful of your own finances as well. Automated recurring extractions from your data sources ensures that you always display accurate, real-time airline data.

#2: Price Comparison

It is convenient to compare prices when you collect airfare data from various OTAs, airlines and competitors in the same platform or dataset. This ensures you never miss out on the best deals for yourself or your customers in terms of cheaper tickets, shorter flight durations, routes with the fewest layovers, and so on.

Leveraging web scraping to monitor your competitors also lets you analyze their pricing strategies so that you can adjust the fares on your end and achieve fair pricing.

#3: Market Intelligence

By collecting and analyzing flight data from multiple sources across time, you get a good idea of how flight ticket rates fluctuate throughout the year. It is easier to identify trends, for example, how easily flights are available during holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, and how rates compare to the rest of the year.

Furthermore, reviews are a vital resource in understanding customer sentiment. Leveraging current trends and sentiment analysis to plan and prioritize marketing campaign strategies will ensure that you target and reach the right audience, offer the best flight packages, and yield the best rewards for your efforts.

Why do you Need a Web scraping Service to Collect Airline Data?

When extracting flight and airfare information, the basic data fields you need are as follows:

  • Airline
  • Flight name/ID
  • Origin and destination airport names/codes
  • Departure and arrival dates and times
  • Total flight duration
  • Number and names of layover airports
  • Price

Most of the above details may be readily available, but gathering and entering the information manually into spreadsheets or databases is extremely tedious, error-prone and simply not practical. That is why letting a web scraping service take over the data sourcing on your behalf is the best solution with lots of advantages.

#1: Easily Customizable

Data extraction services offer custom solutions for even the most complex of requirements. In addition to the above data points, they will also extract any other fields that you may need. Once the data scraping is complete, they will also deliver the data in a format that is the most convenient.

#2: Cost-Effective

The most popular flight providers source their data from hundreds of OTAs and airline websites. Paying a fee to each of your data sources for access to their APIs is extremely costly and ineffective.

Scraping services are the perfect cost-effective solution that provides you with data from all of your sources in one convenient platform.

#3: Automation for Constant Data Flow

As mentioned earlier, it is important to not only keep track of any changes to flight details but also ensure there is a constant information flow into your system. This is one of the major challenges when you are working with multiple data sources.

Partnering with DaaS providers, like Grepsr, gives you peace of mind in this regard as well. With a dedicated team of specialists working on your specific needs, they ensure each of your data sources continues to deliver the data you need and route it to your filesystems seamlessly.

#4: Easily Scaled

As your business continues to grow, you need to add more OTAs and airlines to your list of data sources. With an in-house team, your limited resources are easily overwhelmed, and simply not capable of managing the time and effort required to cater to the increasing demands.

Scraping services, on the other hand, deal with such issues all the time and will have no problem scaling your project to accommodate the increased data requirements. They are already well-equipped with the dedicated resources, technology and infrastructure in place to manage even the most demanding requests.

#5: Overcome Website Restrictions

Many OTAs and airlines routinely place various restrictions to limit access to their data — blocking IPs of servers sending requests, allowing access to only a specific amount of data, geo-restricting their content, or much more.

Data sourcing services regularly face such obstacles when working on other industry projects as well. Hence, they are well-versed in the techniques to overcome these restrictions and will make sure your access to the source OTA and its flight information isn’t compromised.

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