8 Ways Big Data Is Transforming Travel

Big Data is possibly the biggest technological advancement since the world wide web. It has made it possible to automate the essential process of researching and understanding customer behavior. Identifying and targeting customer behavior patterns is critical for travel entities that rely on gaining customer loyalty and attracting new clients. This has transformed the travel industry and we have barely scratched the surface of big data technology. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what big data is, and how it is impacting the travel industry.  

What is Big Data?

Big Data is a term used to refer to large data sets that are too big to be processed through more traditional processing methods. Typically it is associated with customer views, habits, and behaviors and enables predictive and behavioral analysis to take place. Big data usually reflect information about a company’s sales, customers, competitors, and markets based on certain algorithms. Information about an organization’s internal operations and activities is available through big data as well.  

In the travel industry, big data can include information regarding customer demographics, customer preferences, flights, destinations, meals, transportation, booking activity, travel trends, and customer recommendations. Big data helps provide instant required stats and real-time solutions for customization and personalization, revenue management, reputation management, strategic marketing, customer experience, market research, target marketing, and security.  

How Is Big Data Transforming Tourism?

Customization and Personalization

Big data gives the travel industry-specific data to understand customer preferences across different types of travel, as well as insight into group behavior. There are many different types of businesses, such as car rental, airlines, hotels, and cruise lines, involved in the travel industry.  It is crucial for gaps between these services to be filled in so that travel for customers can be streamlined.  When data is gathered that gives specific information about the group and individual consumer behavior, companies are able to offer more personalized and customized services for their clients.  

Revenue Management

Selling the right product to the right consumer at the right price is invaluable.  Big data, both external and internal, provides the information needed to maximize financial results.  Internal data that can be collected are customer expectations, occupancy rates, room revenue, and current bookings.  Information about local events, weather, flights, and school holidays provide external data. The combination of these two data sources assists in helping organizations better manage prices and rates, maximizing their revenue.  

More data is only an advantage when the revenue management system assists in improving the price-demand estimates and enhancing the optimization process. Big data usage should give the organization an edge over its competitors and help create a unique marketing niche.  

Reputation Management

Having a record of customer data and information helps drive the travel industry’s core service of hospitality and therefore, manage its reputation. Customers can leave reviews on a variety of platforms sharing their opinions and experiences. When this data is combined with the feedback that is acquired internally, it can be used to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the business. Then this information can be used in training and improvement efforts.  

A travel business can only grow when it has a good reputation in the market. So paying close attention to online reviews is crucial to reputation management. Travelers today use social media to reflect on positive experiences and to post grievances. Collecting data from social media enables detailed sentiment analysis and customer profiling. Big data is analyzed to gather important insight into customer satisfaction. Analytics help to enrich marketing efforts that will help ensure positive feedback and strengthen the company brand.  

Strategic Marketing

The value of big data is that it delivers facts and figures.  When this data is converted into statistics, a company can find insights into the customer – who they are, where they are, and what they want.  Tourism companies can use this information to adopt a more strategic approach to their marketing. Marketing trends can be identified and targeted promotional content can be delivered.  Big data allows for data-driven decision-making to take place that will assist customers with real-time support, risk mitigation, and tailored solutions.

Customer Experience

The travel industry has a vast array of interactions with its customers that provide valuable data. This data can and should be used to improve the overall customer experience.  A positive customer experience creates a loyal customer.  Customer experience data can include everything from social media conversations and online reviews to service usage data. When used effectively, this data can reveal which services are most popular with customers.  Companies can also make more informed, data-driven decisions about the services they provide as well the services that are no longer needed. The ultimate goal for an organization in the travel industry is customer satisfaction, so big data analytics are key.  

Market Research

Another important use of big data is to compile and analyze information about its main competitors. Pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the overall reputation of rival companies helps leaders to identify gaps in the market and opportunities to offer services that rivals are not. This can lead to greater demand and higher revenue.  

Big data provides information that leads to evidence-driven decisions such as anticipating future demand, optimizing pricing, and target marketing.  All of these allow an organization to improve customer experiences.  

Target Marketing

Customer experiences vary in budget, focus, and purpose. Travelers expect personalized service.  Using big data, travel companies can more effectively target their marketing to current and potential customers. Based on interests and travel history, deals and pricing can be personalized. Travel websites can also be customized to appeal to all travelers and encourage more interactions and interest.  

Safe and Secure

Tourism is better prepared and more secure as a result of big data. The national intelligence database allows the country’s security forces to respond quickly and effectively to a cyber attack, giving customers more peace of mind.  

Travel industries use cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, network monitoring, anti-malware, and traffic filtering to protect against common threats.  Travel companies always adhere to relevant regulations and operate a continuous training program in cybersecurity in order to maintain a well-trained workforce.  Adversity planning and crisis management can also be done with ease thanks to the use of big data.  

Today, the travel industry passes an immense volume of data from one vendor to the next. Companies build complex integrations, automation workflows, and data checks. They go to great lengths to optimize the speed of data transfer. As a complement to big data, blockchain presents a more efficient and secure option. Rather than transferring data between vendors, blockchain connects approved vendors to a shared set of data—a single source of truth. One of the most critical aspects of blockchain technology is that the data is decentralized. This makes it very difficult for malicious actors to modify or remove previously sealed blocks of data. Blocks are permanent and can’t be altered without consensus for the entire network and without altering all subsequent blocks. So, the information on the blockchain remains secure and traceable. Blockchain has an exciting future in the travel industry. 

How Does Cornerstone Information Systems Use Big Data?

As travel management and procurement professional, you are under constant pressure to keep your customers satisfied, reduce costs, and increase your team’s productivity. To achieve this, we know it’s not enough to automate easy transactions. So our solution automates and captures all the changes and details that allow you to manage and measure a credible travel program.

With travel back on the rise, the right decisions can help TMCs ride the wave and emerge stronger, more agile, and more profitable than ever.  Cornerstone Information Systems is the technology partner behind the scenes of tens of millions of automated bookings. Our technology helps you configure workflow and services that deliver measurable savings and insights to manage your travel program and operations.

We understand the importance of security and compliance when it comes to processing data. The IT infrastructure that Cornerstone utilizes to operate our solutions is designed and managed in alignment with security best practices and we, along with our data center, follow IT security standards including SOC2, SOC3, FISMA, and PCI management and decision making.

Ready to learn how you leverage our solutions for your success? Join the more than 600 companies with more than $2 billion in travel spending that depends on us to succeed in their travel program. Contact Cornerstone today to learn more.