With the advancement of digital technology, travelers are now leaving their digital footprint at multiple touch points, right from researching about possible destination for next vacation, to searching and making a booking, going for the trip and sharing feedback about the travel and stay.
Cloud Technology today allows package providers to capture and store new age data like Social Reputation, Search, Events, Weather, Airline Capacity, News, Promotion, Booking, etc. at real-time basis.
Big Data Technology for travel package providers allows them to analyze this new age data and generate actionable insights like competition price change, demand forecast, price recommendation, etc. to take automated decisions like price change, promotion, offer, etc. at a real time basis.
The challenge for package providers is to architect and implement the end to end ecosystem for leveraging the maximum benefit of the new age data and also to drive a culture of data driven decision making.
How to find the Right Data and use it effectively?
Travel related Data volume is growing exponentially and data itself is getting obsolete at a much faster rate than before with the advent of live streaming data. So it’s critical for package providers to set the right data strategy by leveraging cloud & machine learning technology for being able to capture, store, analyze, generate insights and make necessary changes at scale and in real-time.
How to find Micro Trends and use it effectively?
Package providers need to capture and store the data at multiple levels of granularity of geography, time window, customer level, etc. In terms of geography it could be at a country, city, district, street and at an individual property level. Similarly, in terms of time window, it could be hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. This will help in finding localized micro trends at various levels which can then be used to run personalized campaigns.
For example, most of Europe is experiencing very hot summer in 2018, which is impacting the overall demand for summer vacation to destinations especially in southern Europe. If a travel package provider captures and analyzes historical weather, events, holidays, market pricing and booking data at a destination level, it will be able to predict easily the impact of weather on its business. Now if the package provider tracks the weather forecast, it can easily forecast future demand and for periods of soft demand it can proactively take measures like running promotion, focusing on high demand market, etc.
Another example, would be cases where a travel package provider tracks Social Reputation data and uses insights from this data for contracting with the right set of hotels and ranking the right set of hotels in their listing page.
However, accessing, processing, and utilizing new age data poses several complexities, and addressing these would be key to leveraging its full potential.
3 Common Roadblocks towards using New Age Data effectively
1.Finding the Right Data-Technology Partner:
It’s really critical for package providers to partner with the right data-technology provider as all the new age data will not be available with package provider themselves and they need to find the right partner who can provide the right quality data, consistently and can provide it in a way than can be easily ingested into the package providers own technology platform. Also package provider should try and find a partner that can support them with all the external data requirements rather than engaging with multiple data providers.
2.Integration support to enable swift action:
It is really important to set up the right technology system in-house that can integrate with all the new age data and provide competitive advantage in the market place by analyzing data faster and churning out insights speedily that can also be actioned upon quickly.
3. Challenge of organizational change:
This is the most critical in the long run – the challenge of organizational change management and getting everyone aligned to work together, share data and insights and taking decisions based on data insights.
A dedicated, flexible and easy-to-deploy solution could help make sense of all the data out there, increasing Revenue Opportunities.
Providers are strengthening Package Optimization Models – and SNEW can help
Travel packages are now more targeted and customer-specific than ever before, and it is all possible because of access to the right data. Consider the case of Red Roof Inn, a US-based hotel chain that uncovered a link between weather data (a particularly severe winter in 2013-14) and a 3% increase in airline cancellation rate. This meant, around 90,000 travellers were stranded every day around major US airports.
Red Roof Inn launched a targeted marketing content, pushing content to mobile device users in the affected areas – and saw a 10% uptick in numbers.
Accurate forecasting can significantly impact the success of the promotion/discount campaigns. Package providers who’re unable to respond to dynamic market movements, stand to lose out on emerging opportunities that are eventually overtaken by competition.
There are two sides to this optimization – peer-specific data should ensure prices are kept at an optimal level; this could be called passive data utilization. And destination-specific data, like weather or geopolitical shifts, could be used to create new plans and packages – this would be proactive data utilization.
Finally, using New Age data to forecast future needs would bolster decision-making and add credibility in a changing and often-volatile market.
Imagine a scenario where a provider strategizes prices specifically in-line with a prevalent trend. Competitors without access to this data generally lower the prices dramatically to boost sales. However, the data-led provider stands their ground – once the market shifts and demand increases, as predicted, they stand to make a windfall. By then, the competition has already wasted their inventory on low-priced sales.
New Age data-based forecasting technology will redefine how providers create and promote their packages, leveraging the power of multi-source information to take the right plan, at the best rates, to the ideal traveller demographic.
About the Author
Vice President – Product Management, RateGain
Nanak is an Engineer & MBA with more than 13 years of work experience in consulting, analytics, product management. With RateGain, he currently overseas the success of pricing products of RateGain for North American and European customers like Apple Leisure Group, Finnair Holidays, etc. In the past he has worked in the analytics team of Hilton, Cognizant, etc.