6 data management revelations from the world of online travel in 2015

As data becomes more accessible and commoditized, more travel brands can join the fun but they will have to work harder too

Big data is no longer a buzzword, it’s hit the mainstream and in 2016 everybody will have an opportunity to join in the fun. 

6. Technology is helping big data to become a commodity 

“Big data analyses will become a commodity,” says Carlos Sánchez, Sr. Manager Big Data Analytics, Product Innovation at Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

This is down to improved analysis tools so that even the non-experts will be able to deliver key insights from the data. 

Big data analyses will become a commodity

- Carlos Sánchez, Sr. Manager Big Data Analytics, Product Innovation, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Take Tom Spagnola, CheapOair’s SVP of Supplier Relations. By analysing CheapOair’s year-over-year data, taking into consideration factors like economy, current events and so on he has been able to formulate a number of trends and predictions for 2016 including: 

  • A 10% increase in revenue from online travel bookings from $483bn this year  
  • Ancillary revenues that are expected to exceed $59.2 billion in 2016 
  • Double-digit growth in the sales of bundled vacation packages

5. Collaboration is the new king 

In 2015 Sánchez was happy to see further collaboration between IT and big data teams.  

“By combining this expertise and creating a central data repository that meets all the security and performance requirements, it’s now possible to successfully run data analysis,” Sánchez says.

This is important, says Tim Gunstone, EyeforTravel MD, because data and exactly what travel brands do with it is going to be the single biggest competitive edge in 2016.

4. Goodbye firewalls: data must become more accessible 

Going forward, Sánchez hopes that data will continue to become more accessible. 

“To make the most of our insights and deliver the products and services travellers expect, we need to make sure it’s not hidden behind firewalls that make it difficult to extract,” he says. 

3. The right data streams matter 

Increasingly companies are recognising that it’s not necessarily about ‘big’ data, but instead using all the ‘right’ available data streams to produce results in good time. 

“Those who use big data to solve specific business problems, and who embed it across their organisation so all departments benefit, will begin to reap the rewards of their data analysis efforts,” says Sánchez. 

These companies will be the one’s to shape the future of travel, while others will fall behind their competitors; they could even disappear.

2. Data is the key to customer satisfaction

Says Kate Williams, Director, Global Communications at KAYAK:  “Travellers are hungry for information and insights that will help them make the best travel decisions.”

Travellers are hungry for information and insights that will help them make the best travel decisions

Kate Williams, Director, Global Communications, KAYAK

This is one of the reasons for Kayak’s recent partnership with Routehappy, which, says Williams “gives users another layer of helpful data as they are searching for flights and making their travel plans”.

Routehappy’s Scores & Amenities data means consumers can understand exactly what is being offered on a flight before booking. The ability to choose a flight based on the type of aircraft, seat, Wifi, entertainment, in-seat power outlets, and fresh food will mean airlines will have to work harder to impress – something that’s been lacking in the airline space!

1.Data privacy isn’t going away

With the Apple store privacy breach in October, which revealed that hundreds of apps were capable of collecting user’s data, the privacy issue is here to stay. Regulation due to come into force in Europe in early 2016 will strengthen the rights of consumers and require organisations to work harder to justify how they use customer data. So there is growing pressure, says Alastair Barter, a Senior Policy Officer at the UK Information Commissioner's Officefor firms to reassess their data and privacy policies.


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