What data means in travel
9th June 2015
In travel, data has been a topic of conversation for at least the past decade if not more, and with the more recent trend of ‘big data’ it has become an even larger trend. Even so, this year the importance of data has grown, and it seems that the realisation that ‘big data’ may not just be for the big corporations, has been made.
Of course data has played an instrumental role in the travel industry for the past thirty years or more. The change has been that companies are now using it in different ways. For example, to better understand customer behaviour, improve supplier efficiency, identify booking or commercial patterns and on the whole, look at opportunities to improve business performance through analysis at a granular level.
While data may have been the reserve of IT teams, more recently its influence has permeated a much wider range of departments and functions. In marketing it can help to improve personalisation and targeting, in finance it can help to streamline payment processes and in customer service it can help improve responses and training. Ultimately, the data has always been there, it is just today that companies have the technology to access it in different ways.
Take website analytics for example. Companies can now use metrics such as bounce rates, conversions and demographics to gain a wider appreciation of how customers interact with your business. When this insight is combined with information on transactions from your reservation platform it is possible to understand transaction trends in detail, using this to build operational KPIs which in turn inform strategy and better business decisions.
For medium sized businesses the data is almost certainly there, in fact in the past it has been the sheer amount of data that has made it difficult for companies of this size to use it effectively without employing teams of analysts. Modern technology and the power of data tools such as effective MI functionality or analytics packages however, deliver a much easier and more powerful way to access the data. More power means data can be aggregated, sorted, cut and filtered faster and in more ways. The result is that companies now have much more freedom in the way they query data and also what they choose to ask it; all they must do is break down what the data tells them to inspire the best course of action.
In 2015, data naturally isn't ‘the big thing’ but it will continue to play a vital role in business operations through inspiring and informing decisions. It’s unlikely that data will make or break your business throughout the year, but through paying heed to the insight it provides, it could make a significant difference to your bottom line.