Currently, most organizations give stress on making heavy investments in data analytics, strategy, and data-driven solutions. The reasons behind it are, data allows them to recognize opportunities to optimize operations, processes, and functions. But, contrary to popular belief, it is not enough to simply collect vast volumes of data. The actual worth of data depends on effective analysing it and in the insights which can be taken out from data to fetch better business outcomes.
Data analytics is a somewhat broad with the spectrum ranging from basic data pulls to advanced analytics at the very edge of cloud computing. Therefore, irrespective of the maturity & priorities of an organization is, it needs to focus on the right things in this spectrum to derive impact. Online travel aggregators such as Cleartrip have been at the front position to adopt data & analytics and have applied it to number of business areas. Here we will discuss on how data analytics is helping and renovating the travel industry.
“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.” – W. Edwards Deming
Reporting and dashboards help organizations track their KPIs and recognize important opportunities for development. This effectively assists organizations translate their business strategy into manageable, operational actions and follow through advancement on initiatives.
Seasonality is a very important factor in the travel sector, which can have a major impact on day to day business goals. This helps making reporting even more crucial. New-end BI tools even allow for responding to business questions like “what are the top travel destinations for Apr, May & Jun?” based on NLP (natural language based) setups. This really can help democratizing data in the whole organization by which everyone can be able to make decisions powered by data.
Monitoring and alerting systems
Data analytics is also vital when it comes to monitoring and alerting. Large volumes of data are generated by the travel industry. It is impossible to keep a track on such vast amounts of information manually. Analytics is useful with being the core of real-time alerting and monitoring systems to recognize anomalies and rare observations.
Optimization and efficiency building
In business, every investment – like time, effort or money should collect associated dividends. Organizations prioritize their investments and redirecting them towards ‘what matter the most’ by the help of analytics. For example – top players in the travel domain normally have huge annual marketing budgets, particularly for online promotions. Analytics help optimize these by searching past performance across different marketing channels, and prioritizing expends as per the business goal to bring better value.
One more key use case of analytics via bringing in efficiency into processes is ‘optimized customer targeting’. Marketers can obtain a large number of more efficiency from campaigns & marketing initiatives by knowing the behaviour and inclinations of different customers & fragmenting them into value groups. When you recognize the aim of a user, you can send the right message at the exact time via proper channel to obtain or require them.
With so much digital content to divert the users & the ever decreasing attention spans, personalization has become a high focus area for all digital players. Travel companies are also are using analytics to establish unmatched personalization in their end-user offerings.
For example, recommendation engines are helping recognize the right content which is appropriate to a user given a definite context. And customers get the most relevant information at any point of time and by that they make the best travel decisions, as per their individual stated and unstated needs.
Smart data for advanced products
Data analytics is also assisting in the creation of advanced travel products. The total volume of end-user information and content can help improving presentation and process flows.
For example, the train PNR confirmation possibility prediction feature – one of the primary features in the travel category to control data analytics to advance service delivery and information availability for the customer. The product is still quite appropriate and was launched by IRCTC in its website upgrade last year.
Likewise, airline fare supervision recommendations are another advanced product powered by analytics. Flight fares differ from day to day because of so many factors, and thus the end user gets confused to purchase. Different online players make different approaches to this. For example, Cleartrip, had launched a product called Pricelock, and it allowed a user to lock a fare today for a small fee and return before the travel date to pay the original locked fare with no risk of any fare increase.
Additionally, travel companies are starting to use chatbots to supply to the ever-growing market and attract a digitally savvy customer. Chatbots are AI powered programs with analytical & predictive capabilities. Thus, by a good chat-bot, the users don’t spend long hours in indecisive search for travel planning.
Improving business strategy & customer experience
There are so many examples of how analytics updates business strategy & planning.
Take an example of annual business planning cycle for a travel organization. The amounts of variations in businesses are occurred due to seasonality, simple extrapolations roughly never work for planning. And therefore, techniques like forecasting become extremely vital to define the business goals.
Social media analytics & NLP techniques are also serving travel companies in staying next to the latest travel trends and engage with users via better content and travel products.
All the examples showed above are indicatives of how basic data analytics has already become within the travel sector. But it is not the end point: experts agree that the technology will think a more significant role in the travel value chain in the near future. If end-user service delivery is the end that travel companies hope for, then analytics is signifying the journey that they must assume to survive and thrive in an progressing digital-first world.