Within the travel industry, big data is one of the most important concepts to get to grips with, because most other businesses are already utilising it and reaping the rewards. These rewards include the ability to make more informed decisions, learn about customers and competitors, improve the customer experience and increase revenue. In this article, you will learn more about big data, and how it can benefit companies in the tourism industry.
Understanding Big Data
First, it is important to establish what big data actually is. Essentially, it is a term used to refer to large data sets, that are too big to be processed through more traditional processing methods. This kind of data can originate from internal and external sources, and is typically associated with customer views, habits and behaviour.
Due to the huge amounts of data that are now collected by businesses of all kinds, big data has become a top priority for many, and this is especially true in the travel industry. While its uses are varied, it can be especially helpful for tourism companies, because it can enable predictive and behavioural analysis to be carried out.
Video: Big data explained
5 Ways Big Data Can Help Those in the Travel Industry
1. Revenue Management
One of the most effective uses of big data within the travel industry is linked to revenue management. To maximise financial results, hotels and other tourism companies need to be able to sell the right product, to the right customer, at the right moment, for the right price, via the right channel, and big data can be invaluable for this.
In particular, internal data like past occupancy rates, room revenue and current bookings can be combined with external data, such as information about local events, flights and school holidays, in order to more accurately predict and anticipate demand. As a result of this, hotels are then better able to manage prices and room rates, increasing them at times of high demand, in order to maximise the revenue that is generated.
2. Reputation Management
Another important use for big data within the tourism industry is in connection with reputation management. In the internet age, customers can leave reviews on a wide range of different platforms, including social media sites, search engines and dedicated review websites, sharing their opinions and experiences. Moreover, customers are increasingly checking these reviews and comparing different hotels before they make a booking.
This data, combined with feedback acquired internally, can be used to spot the most significant strengths and weaknesses, and where customers are impressed or disappointed. Once this information has been gathered, hotels can use it to inform their training efforts, in order to make improvements and ensure future reviews are positive.
3. Strategic Marketing
Within the travel industry, marketing can be difficult to get right, because potential customers are so varied in who they are, where they come from, and what they are looking for. However, big data can help tourism companies to adopt a more strategic approach to their marketing efforts, targeting the right people in the right way.
More specifically, big data can help businesses to identify the main trends that exist among their customers, where the similarities are, and what the best marketing opportunities are. It can also help businesses to understand where those people are and when marketing is most relevant to them. This can enable marketing messages to be sent, based on time, location and other data, allowing more targeted promotional content to be delivered.
4. Customer Experience
Hotels and other businesses in the travel industry have a vast array of interactions with customers, and each of these interactions can provide valuable data, which can be used to improve the overall customer experience. This data can include everything from social media conversations and online reviews, to service usage data.
Used effectively, this information can reveal which services customers use most, which they do not use at all, and which they are most likely to request or talk about. Through this data, companies can make more informed, data-driven decisions about the services they currently provide, the services they no longer need to provide, the services they want to introduce, and the new technology they choose to invest in.
5. Market Research
Finally, those in the travel and tourism industry can also use big data to compile and analyse information about their main competitors, in order to gain a clearer understanding of what other hotels or businesses are offering customers. Again, this data can be acquired from a variety of sources, as there is no shortage of places where customers go to share their opinions on hotels and travel companies, especially online.
Ultimately, the data can be used to pinpoint the strengths, weaknesses and overall reputation of rival companies. This can be extremely valuable, as it can help business leaders to spot potential gaps in the market, or opportunities to deliver in ways that rivals are failing to. This can, in turn, lead to greater demand and higher revenue.
Big data can benefit those in the travel industry in a number of important ways, allowing them to make more evidence-driven decisions. These include the ability to anticipate future demand more accurately, optimise pricing strategies, target marketing more precisely and improve the customer experience.