10 ways travel businesses can benefit from data science

Israel Herraiz

Data Scientist, Travel Intelligence, Amadeus IT Group

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Travel businesses play in a global market, where cities and tourist destinations are competing to attract travellers to their locations. But in such a sea of offers, potential travellers can have a hard time searching for travel, and travel businesses can feel like they have the same impact as a drop in the ocean. However, data science and big data present a huge opportunity to shape the future of travel, helping to make the travel experience more pleasant and seamless, while at the same time enabling new revenue possibilities for travel businesses.

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Let’s take a look at some examples:

1. Integrated view of passengers: Every time we fly, data goes through many different systems (search, booking, check-in desk, boarding gate, security lane, renting a car etc.) but these systems are not always sufficiently integrated. Thanks to Big Data technologies, airlines can now have a better picture of the entire travel cycle, reconciling all available data.

2. Personalised offers: Airlines are increasingly starting to think like a retailer and data technologies can help them make personalised offers based on their travellers’ preferences, booking history, and even social connections.

3. Optimise marketing efforts: Travel agents (whether brick and mortar or online) often see potential customers peering at their offer, only to turn away.  Agencies can use data analytics to optimise their marketing efforts to potential travellers, tailoring offers based on customer demand and their place in the purchasing cycle.

4. Loyalty: Online travel agencies could incentivise customer loyalty by offering dynamically bundled travel packages, in addition to the use of personalised campaigns and offers, all enabled through the use of data science and big data.

5. Leveling the playing field: In a world with many large players, it may seem that small, local businesses have few opportunities to shine in the travel industry. But data technology can help them. Thanks to the use of recommendation systems, travellers can obtain a range of deals to be enjoyed at destination offered by local businesses, from scuba diving in the remotest underwater caves to Paella tasting.

6. Timely deals: Through mobile devices, airports can measure people’s flows inside the airport and offer timely and tailored deals.

7. Advance knowledge: Small business owners can know in advance what type of travellers will be visiting the area and at what time of year, and thus tailor their offer to the travellers that will be nearby in the coming weeks and months. A truly connected world.

8. Disruption recovery: Airlines can quickly recover from disruptions by making the best operational decisions -which in turn will minimise the impact on travellers- thanks to the use of data science and operations research.

9. Optimising fleet resources: Another area that can help airlines improve capacity planning is forecasting. Thanks to data science and analytics, airlines can forecast traffic and optimise fleet resources, leading to savings in fuel and costs.

10. Environmental impact: Airports can also benefit from traffic predictions and react in real time to changes. This results in minimising fuel consumption, contributing to a positive environmental effect.

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 Scientistsare 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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