Travel / Hospitality

Personalizing the travel experience with Big Data

16th Jan `15, 11:22 AM in Travel / Hospitality

Not much time has passed by when we were all praying for the Malaysian Airline MH-370 to be…

Ankita-Gupta
Ankita Gupta Contributor
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Not much time has passed by when we were all praying for the Malaysian Airline MH-370 to be found. Thanks to Big Workflow (a tool based on Big Data), DigitalGlobe, Tomnod.com and obviously the search team, who although couldn’t save the passengers, but helped giving the families and the people concerned a chance to make their own efforts in searching their loved ones.

Travelling – a necessity for some while a passion for others!  One of the biggest industries globally, Big Data is quintessential for this business. Although the potential of Big Data is still unexplored in the Travel Industry, the plane has taken off and will very soon be above the clouds. Analysing consumers’ interests and demands, preferences and trends, for all of it, Big Data is the ultimate solution!

Gone are the days when storing consumer analysis data was a costly affair for the companies and hence they couldn’t research adequately. Big Data aids the organizations in storing and analysing this data easily and at cheap rates. It helps them analyse the sales and promotions data, consumer behaviour/reactions on their products/services and latest trends in the market. Big Data also helps in optimizing pricing strategy, maximizing returns and analyzing seasonal changes. It can conveniently divide the customer data into segments on the basis of age and other demographics. It also helps them a keep a check on their social media presence and their competitors in the market.

For the consumers, everything today is about a wholesome experience more than anything else. Any travel website/travel planner if wants to remain competitive, have to make the customers feel special. The initial steps have been taken– if the customer once books air tickets or hotels on a website using Big Data, the next time he/she logins to the site, he/she gets a much more filtered search automatically based on his/her previous search and preferences. From booking information to transit, from regular updates on timings to luggage tracking, Big Data helps give the customer a personalized experience on the website which in turn increases customer loyalty.

Websites like Cleartrip.com and Makemytrip.com use Big Data to analyse customer selections and send them mailers and purchase offers based on the same. British Airways uses a ‘Know Me Program’ to analyse brand loyalty along with consumer behaviour. Boxever, a recent start-up has provided a platform where the airlines and travel operators can gather and provide the customer a highly customized and specialized experience based on his/her choices. It helps not only improvise but also optimize operations and marketing strategies planned. Websites like KAYAK which analyse the trends in prices and notifies the customers accordingly. Expedia.com has recently introduced three new features—Flight Recommendations, Scratchpad and Itinerary Sharing—all supported by Big Data. While the first two are known, Itinerary Sharing is a new feature which enables customers to share their itineraries with friends/family making it easier for them to track/plan their travel. For Expedia, it gets them some new customers or at least visitors to their website. Websites Hipmunk and Trivago rank hotels and flights on the basis of price and customer preferences/previous choices. Hotels like Hilton analyse customer selection patterns and customer satisfaction which helps them improvise their service and in turn increase loyalty. Big Data helps the hotels in setting prices and introducing offers.

Not only luxury, it also serves the essentials. Airlines are now using Big Data to study weather reports which helps them to schedule flights accordingly and avoid delays. This saves inconvenience for the customers and trouble of re-accommodation/rescheduling of flights for the airlines.

Though Big Data has taken a leap in the travel industry, if explored to its full potential, it just might be able to prevent other MH-370 hazard and save the day.

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