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10 ways data science can improve your travel experience

Sebastien Perez

Data Scientist, Travel Intelligence, Amadeus IT Group

The advent of new big data technologies and major technical advances in the fields of data science and data mining are enabling promising new opportunities for travel companies and travellers. We are seeing an explosion of available data (e.g. customer tracking, travel reviews, habits, and social sharing) and the existence of new tools and storage capacity to take advantage of it.

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Data science helps make sense of all this data and improves the travel experience in many ways, which we’ve listed below.

How to Improve Your Travel Experience

1. Truly personalised offers
Passengers are sharing more information and companies are tracking itineraries and activities, helping us to see a clearer picture of the traveller. Data science provides the means to extract the true preferences of passengers. As a result, when a passenger is looking for a trip, we can order the results by their interests so the search is more meaningful and useful. Better customer segmentation also allows for more targeted email campaigns by our customers and more interest from readers.

2. Passenger histories
Passengers can look back at all the travelling they have done and for business travellers this allows them to optimise their journeys so they alter future trips. Leisure travellers can access a history of their trips and integrate details and data with their own pictures and emails. Having the history of their trips allows travellers to better plan for the future.

3. The travel industry can now listen to its customers
Reviews are empowering passengers and travel players cannot simply dismiss them. We now have the ability to automatically track reviews and warn companies so that they can act pre-emptively to negative reviews. This helps companies improve their image, while giving travellers a voice.

4. Enhanced customer service
Airlines and travel agencies have the opportunity to provide a much better service. They can now track passenger concerns and compensate faster. For example, lost luggage could result in an upgrade for your next flight. As travel providers gain a better overview of each specific traveller’s preferences, they can work to prevent problems and personalise their experience.

5. Better recommendations
As we understand travellers’ tastes more than ever, we can recommend trips or provide a more complete travel experience with a hotel that will suit their travel purpose. This might be an apartment or cheaper lodging for a budget-aware passenger, or a hotel next to a business traveller’s conference.

6. Improved efficiency
The travel industry relies on strict schedules to ensure operational optimisation which consequently provides lower prices to customers. However, many of those schedules do not take into account customers’ preferences. The availability of – and learning from – anonymized passenger data enables schedules to be built from the bottom up. We can now aggregate passenger preferences and desired migrations in order to please the highest number of passengers.

7. Better reactivity
Unscheduled changes forced by the weather or external events can disrupt plans. Data science provides the tools to adapt more quickly to changes. For example, passenger reallocation in planes can be organised in a more comfortable way with assisted schedule recovery.

8. Safer travel
Companies can learn from operational data to improve efficiency. For example, learning from maintenance data can prevent problems in the future and increase travel safety.

9. Trends identification
Data science makes it possible to identify trends (seasonality, unusual increases in reservations, etc). This can push companies to investigate those trends and offer customized services. For example, if a popular book or a movie set in a specific city creates interest about that location, then travel companies could offer a special package there.

10. Data integration
This list does not even scratch the surface of what is possible with data. We are just starting to integratetravel-related data such as anonymized trip reservation records, social feeds, events, and news databases. This will enable us to answer more meaningful questions from passengers instead of just reserving a trip from point A to point B. We can go as far to ask which beach is not only cost-effective, but also won’t be too crowded in August, or what the best itinerary to accommodate a group trip to Germany in March is.

Editor’s note: It’s been labelled the sexiest profession of the 21st Century, one where demand has raced ahead of supply, a hybrid of data hacker, analyst, communicator, and trusted advisor. Data Scientists are people with the skill set (and the mind-set) to tame Big Data technologies and put them to good use. But what kind of person does this? Who has that powerful –and rare- combination of skills?  In this series, Amadeus’ team of Data Scientists 


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Big Data