If the physical world is made up of atoms, then the virtual world is stacked with data and handling such data to gain actionable insights was a major challenge until few years ago. Big Data broadly stands for the gradually expanding data in terms of variety, velocity and volume. Data and predictive analytics deals with the task of handling the data and converting it into meaningful insights, which can then be used for churning out actionable policies and plans. In the traveling industry, Big Data has taken off to a variety of destinations, all the while revolutionizing the art of travel.
Earlier, the consumer was leading an unguided walk through the journey of planning a trip. Today, with the thought of a trip, the entire world-wide-web stands to guide you on the ways to go about to reach your destination. Companies like Amadeus or MakeMyTrip employs strong business intelligence tools to reach out to their potential customers through various channels.
Injecting Travel-Strategy into Unstructured Data
While companies might have copious amount of data in their storage, the most important step is to market your brand and the right travel package to the right customers. You can market your brand by sending messages to potential customers but to ensure the right message reaches the right customers, companies need to have the relevant data. This can be gathered from the demographic data, along with data on hobbies and interests from social media channels.
Tailor-made Customer Experience
Once the company has demographic details of its potential customers, it can design packages to fit into their personal and economic preferences. Personal preferences which were completely out of reach to the travel providers about 10 years ago are at the fingertips of travel planners today. Information such as hobbies of travelers, their physical condition, medical histories (through association with cloud-based healthcare institutions) and their inclinations (historical, musical, social) are easy to source these days. Having such information within reach is critical in special cases like a physically-disabled traveler, those with pet companions (in which case you might consider putting in a message about- Here are Pet-Friendly hotels for your family and your Pooch too!). The competition thus moves from reaching out to the potential customer to being the most responsive to their preferences (through use of Big Data Analytics).
Most of the trips that we take are hugely dependent on the budgetary dimension. With Big Data, companies can shift from the traditional fare analysis (largely manual) to smart automation. This involves the gathering of already available and of live data from various sources. This is followed by indexing, screening and examining of the information to construct travel packages which would give the customers the best of their destination within their limitations.
Limitations of Big Data
Big Data is a long-shot for many companies which do not have a data analytics strategy in place. The BI and DA tools your company adopts must sync with the amount and type of data you receive daily. This is analogous to saying that you must build a dam on the basis of amount and force of water which will meet it. There is also a price-tag attached to storing data and to training/employing data scientists who can grasp and turn the data into usable information. One of the glaring challenges with use of Big Data is also security. Company must have strict security policies and safety regulations to control the access of confidential travel data. Any company which dips into Big Data for transforming its customer base and revenue must be ready for a huge organizational shift. This is owing to the involvement of almost every department of the company in the conversion of Big Data into relevant insights.
Big Data has already sprinkled its magic dust on the travel industry, giving companies the ability to trace consumer trends, business opportunities and trip patterns. However, the use of Big Data is only possibly when the organizational analytics’ team is well-trained and capable of handling the quantity and quality of data received. Since Big Data is also in its gestation period, the travel industry is also in the process of developing itself for the Big Data’s big-needs like human resource (data scientists and technical staff), financial aspects (deployment fees) and infrastructure.