“Hotel booking free if you book within the hour!” How does anybody ignore a pop up like that? Especially when your travel dates are just around the dates they are offering. It is almost eerily too good to be true. You book your flight tickets in that very instant, you get a whopping discount on your hotel booking, and you feel pretty smart about your decision. All thanks to Big Data in the travel industry!
Big Data in the Travel Industry
But what really is Big Data and why has it been so thrown so casually around in conversations lately? Also, what even is Big Data in the travel industry?
Big Data is exactly what it implies: data which is huge and growing exponentially in size. It has revolutionised a lot of sectors across the world already. Big Data is currently taking the travel industry by storm. Since the travel industry is heavily dependent on data, it makes perfect sense. This just streamlines it into a more efficient system for marketing analytics. It has absolutely revolutionised the travel industry. It walks with a potential lead through the entire sales funnel, right from marketing material in the encounter stage to marketing material to the conversion stage. And it is all custom made for each lead.
Big Data in the travel industry is here to stay. There are no two ways about it. According to the McKinsey 2016 report, the travel industry has 23 times greater likelihood of customer acquisition, 6 times customer retention, and 19 times larger likelihood of profitability if they are evidence based and data lead.
6 Ways Big Data in the Travel Industry Works
1) Managing Revenue Streams
The tourism industry is extremely time and price sensitive. It is all about selling the right product to the right person at the right time at the right price. In order to facilitate this, two kinds of data are required: internal and external. Internal data like past customer engagement, median rates paid for rooms, and current bookings if any. External data, like weather, preferred choice and time of location, attractions most likely to keep the lead interested. A heady mix of both is required to draw insights for patent regression models.
Flights and hotels can manage their rates better, in anticipation of greater demand in order to optimize revenue. This helps in managing the price and demand index. This is your unfair advantage. Pricing strategies based on pure data. You can also keep tabs on competitor prices and work your business strategies around that. In the off-holiday season, maybe offer more incentives to lure them in?
2) Managing Online Reputation
Imagine rummaging through a travel aggregator site trying to figure which hotel you should book in your budget: what sets apart one from another? Yes, you guessed it. Reviews and ratings. According to a study, 90 percent of American travellers share their experiences on social media and reviews services. TripAdvisor has a whopping 390 million unique visitors and 435 million reviews. Big Data in any service based industry is absolutely essential to improve your social listening skills and become a part of every conversation that concerns you. You can fix the smallest glitch by noticing what your consumer has to say about you.
Perhaps somebody mentioned online that they were disappointed that your hotel breakfast buffet ran out of croissants? Apologise and call them for a complimentary meal. Or send them a box of croissants. Watch them post great things about you almost instantly!
On the other end of the spectrum, is how well you know your customers. Birthdays and anniversaries for example. This kind of data and information will help you go above and beyond what is expected of you and make them your brand loyalists and advocates.
Big Data in the travel industry has helped the entire process become as seamless as possible for the consumer.
3) Managing Strategic Marketing
By combining big data in the travel industry with a rock solid omni channel marketing management strategy, the marketing department of the tourism industry has already won half the battle. You will now know where your audience is, what content they like, what they love to eat, their favourite travel destination, and whether or not they are currently working on the beach body!
The customers are that varied. Which makes it even more important to get the custom marketing right strategically. You can read trends and patterns and invest marking money in that stream particularly. In the travel industry, it might be difficult to get the right marketing done because potential customers are varied in who they are, where they come from, and what they are looking for. But, big data helps tourism companies to adopt a more strategic approach in their marketing efforts, targeting the right people in the right way.
“Hotel booking free if you book within the hour!”
This targeted message makes much more sense, right?
4) Managing Customer Experience
Customer experience is truly the deal breaker or maker. Converting a lead into a buyer, converting a buyer into a brand loyalist, converting a brand loyalist into a brand advocate. That is the dream of any business. It is a small percentage but drives maximum sales.
You have a whole gamut of interactions with your customer and each of these engagements can provide invaluable data extraction techniques to enrich customer experience. This data can include everything from social media conversations, online reviews, and data consumption.
This way you will know which part of the service the consumer actively seeks and the ones they do not talk about at all. This will also help you drive your future business strategies by understanding what they need the most and areas that can be improved upon.
5) Managing Market Research
Big Data in the travel and tourism industry can be used to keep track of what the competition is doing: how are they priced, what incentives they are offering, what the audience is saying about them et al. There is no real dearth of data in this compartment (or any, for that matter). It is always a matter of what data to invariably scrape. You always have to be one step ahead of what is happening in the market and follow peers carefully. This will help you spot gaps that only you can fill. This will pave you way for evidence driven decisions and targeted marketing.
6) Managing Targeted Marketing
In the trade industry, making buyer personas is a Herculean task. The audience is extremely varied and it can get very tricky to segment them. Therefore, enter Big Data analytics. Each segment has to mirror spending habits, purchasing power parities, expectations. Travelling is extremely income sensitive as well. All of these put together will create an unmatched customer experience and will be your big ticket (pun unintended) to success.
Future of Big Data in the Travel Industry
Big Data in the travel industry is the need of the hour. The industry has already taken a big hit in the wake of 2020 and is now slowly recuperating. What better time than now to weave the magic of data in your business?