Increasingly, companies are taking advantage of information on the behaviour of potential travellers to predict future behaviour, and to use these predictions to deliver better travel experiences for their customers.

This includes the collection and analysis of both structured data such as consumer profiles, and unstructured data, including status updates, photos and videos that Facebook users share online.

Perhaps surprisingly, big data also provides a powerful oopportunity for you to understand your customers better than ever before. You already understand your customers’ preferences, such as which brands and travel experiences they’ve liked or disliked in the past. This historical information combined with new data sources will allow you to surpass what you’ve previously been able to do for your customers.

The Big Data Opportunity
On the average day, you probably generate significant volumes of booking and profile data, as well as vast amounts of information regarding search, booking and itinerary details. By collecting and analysing customer data, you can use the resulting insights to improve the customer experience and boost sales. Insights gleaned from all that data can provide valuable clues around the tastes, intent and journey of customers and prospects. The challenge is in how to use this data to augment your current processes and bookings.

Through the use of data, you can compile suggested holiday packages based on previous data and travel preferences. These packages can be changed to reflect popular locations the customer has researched or visited, budget, class of hotel and flight, historical trip information, party size, etc. You can then tailor suggestions or marketing promotions to specific customers, enhancing customer loyalty and revenue.

Big Benefits in Big Data
Using big data, you can improve your business in a number of ways: You can maximise margins by constantly monitoring transactions, and maximise revenues for each booking, while predicting the likelihood of being able to upsell other travel options. You can even use the data gathered to negotiate better rates with suppliers.

Big data offers a way to segment based on legacy data; this makes it easy to design a package for a specific group of customers. For instance, by identifying a subset that actively seeks out adventure vacations, you can work with your travel suppliers to put together a package that is geared more towards customer tastes. Perhaps ziplining, volcanic hikes, or scuba diving is in your customers’ futures.

On the other hand, older travellers may want to enjoy more relaxing and guided activities that are shorter in duration. By segmenting these traveller profiles, you can design a package for that group of customers and get additional volume discounts on flights, tour vendors, etc., through the creation of packages that are more geared towards their tastes.

As you know well, the better understood a customer’s behavior is, the easier to offer true personalisation, more targeted sales, and maximise profitability.

Top 5 Tips:

1.  Don’t be frightened of this data — it’s there to aid the personal relationship. Ask your managers what data is available because it can help you make more informed decisions.

2.  Deepen your one-to-one personal conversation through the use of big data.

3.  Keep yourself abreast of the newest big data trends to further develop your capabilities and existing relationships.

4.  Ask and understand what your company has in place and what their plans are with regard to big data — there are rules and regulations that you should be aware of.

5.  Don’t fall behind. Big data is here to stay and will only become more advanced in the future. While you were a travel agent yesterday, today you’re both a travel agent and a big data analyst!

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