Five Ways Big Data Will Impact Summer Travel

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and with it comes the unofficial start of summer. To most of us – whether you’re seven- or seventy-years-old – the word “summer” is synonymous with “vacation,” and vacations, of course, involve travel.

In fact, according to recent survey results from TripAdvisor, about one-third (30 percent) of the US respondents polled are planning to travel this Memorial Day weekend. Nearly nine out of ten (86 percent) are planning a leisure trip this summer. That’s a 6 percent and 7 percent increase, respectively, compared to TripAdvisor’s survey results from last year.

What comes to mind when you think about summer travel? Is it beaches? Sight-seeing? National parks, perhaps?

Not me. Maybe it won’t come as a surprise to those who know me well, but when I think about travel these days, I typically end up ruminating about one thing: big data … or more specifically, big data analytics and how today’s platforms and applications are making travel easier worldwide.

Just like every other sector, the travel and tourism industry now faces the challenge of capturing, storing and finding value in enormous amounts of data. Business insights – when they’re quickly accessible and built on the right data infrastructure – can turn gut-feel decisions into intelligent, fact-based ones.

At Teradata, we know that when travel and tourism businesses choose to integrate business and social intelligence into their operational and strategic processes, they start driving profitability and consumer satisfaction. Why? Because big data insights directly impact:

Travel costs. Airlines, travel agencies, hotels and related services operate in a hyper-competitive environment where quick responses to consumer demand, competition and environmental conditions can make the difference between profits and losses in operations.

Ticket availability. As with ticket prices, careful monitoring of consumer demand, competition and environmental conditions enable travel and tourism businesses to adapt to a fluid marketplace.

Customer experience. Big data insights help travel and tourism businesses improve the customer experience by delivering critical insights to the front lines just when needed – even in real-time.

Loyalty. Travel and tourism businesses that leverage big data insights build loyalty with offers designed from details “hidden” in customer data.

Competitive advantage. Travel and tourism businesses use big data analytics to find cost reduction drivers in irregular operations, labor productivity, fuel and materials usage, etc.

Want an example? Just look at how our Teradata eCircle colleagues used data and applications to keep London moving last summer during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. On behalf of its client Transport for London (TfL), Teradata eCircle implemented sophisticated data selection to create targeted emails which could be used to communicate directly with daily commuters, sending them a special website, where they could plan their journeys to avoid travel hotspots. As a result of these email messages, 35 percent of Londoners made changes to their routes, reducing traffic in central London by about 15 percent during the Games.

I fully expect big data analytics to have an increasingly significant impact on travel in the near-future. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism industry is expected to grow by an average of 4 percent annually over the next decade. Remarkably, that will amount to 10 percent of global GDP, or some US$10 trillion. The WTTC also anticipates that by 2022, travel and tourism will account for 328 million jobs, or one in every 10 jobs on the planet. With all these people “on the go” – and all the digital information they’re bound to generate – it makes perfect sense for travel and tourism businesses to start leveraging big data analytics to improve the customer experience … and not just for Memorial Day or summer vacations, but for every day of the year.

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