With 2.5 quintillion bites of data being created every day, big data analytics has never been more useful for the travel industry.

 

The internet has been the driver of significant change in the travel sector over the last decade. ABTA’s 2016 holiday habits report revealed that 76% of British holidaymakers booked their holidays online last year, and just 19% of bookings were made in-person at a high-street travel agent. With countless travel companies and agent sites offering everything from direct flights to all-inclusive packages with all the trimmings, it is easy to see why customers have turned to booking their holidays online.

There’s fierce competition, and it’s the best online offering that will win out.

The most successful online operators are often the most personalised. Before the digital revolution, it was up to the high-street travel agents to get to know their customers and what they really wanted from their holidays. They’d get under the skin of the customer and put together a really tailored package. This has become more difficult as this process has moved online. Research has shown that consumers visit as many as 38 sites before they book a holiday, so it’s clear to see that a really personalised online service could offer a real competitive advantage.

Previously, insight into customer behaviour consisted of simple elements such as age, gender and location. While these factors helped to create targeted marketing, it still left a lot to desire when you consider the trails of data that customers leave online daily. 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years and this growth shows no signs of stopping.

In the past, it has been difficult to make sense of this complex mass of data, but with the help of big data and text analytics tools, it is possible to take valuable insight. This is particularly useful for the travel industry as whenever a customer searches for a destination, books a trip, checks-in to a place, or leaves a review online, a unique digital footprint is created. Once this information is harnessed, online offerings can become more personalised and you can finally build a true picture of your customers, and use this as the foundation for a long-term sustainable relationship.

Customer loyalty is the foundation to the success of any travel company or agent, high-street or online. But as more focus their online offerings towards the customer, it can be difficult to compete in this global market. Through big data analytics, a customer’s digital footprint can be broken down to find out who they are and what they want from their next holiday. Whether a customer is best suited to a beach holiday in the Bahamas or a trekking holiday in Peru, both online travel companies and high-street agents can use big data to understand their customers and replicate a bespoke experience online.

The way customers buy their holidays has changed, and online offerings need to respond with this movement. With as much as 2.5 quintillion bites of data being created every day, it’s now easier than ever to utilise this information and build on relationships with customers to create brand loyalty, and attract new customers.

Don’t be left behind in the personalisation race; say yes to big data and getting to know your customers. 

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