Big Data for Travel

The diversity of providers within the travel and transportation industry largely experience similar challenges, irrespective of whether it is for personal travel or freight transportation. The highly competitive travel and transport industry means that providers have to cater for individual customer needs at attractive rates while still maintaining profitability in a challenging environment.

Business intelligence is no longer about offering similar or better products after the competition does. It is about identifying trends among current and prospective customers and implementing market-relevant solutions as soon as possible while maintaining focus on the organization’s goals and constraints. This requires the constant analysis of data from a diversity of sources beyond the structured data within an organization’s database.

Individualized Travel And Transportation Solutions

Every second of every day businesses are accumulating data that is streaming in from diverse sources at varying velocities. Beyond transactional and operational data, there is a constant flow of data from external sources such as social media, website logs, call center emails to other non-traditional in-house sources such as equipment monitoring devices, vehicle tracking and maintenance logs. Much of this data is semi-structured or unstructured and cannot fit in neatly alongside the structured data within an organization’s regular database. This diverse data is known as big data and until now it was often ignored or discarded.

However, big data solutions have opened the way for handling this data and correlating it with transactional data for greater insight. The business value of this diversity of data is no different for the travel and transportation industry than it is for other sectors, especially in an environment where consumers are not limited for choice. By understanding market demand from a deeper perspective, providers are able to offer more consumer-relevant solutions that can be individualized for the customer rather than adopting the “one size fits all” policy.

Surviving In A Competitive Environment

Success in the travel and transport industry means balancing the organization’s needs, goals and constraints with customer’s wants, preference and concerns. Business intelligence requires deriving key insights from data that exists rather than solely depending on market trends and historical perspective. It has to be balanced with functioning in a competitive environment such as the travel and transportation industry where service has to be consistent, reliable and fast while maintaining quality.

Organizations have to also reduce capital and operational expenditure, cater for capacity limitations and minimize equipment downtime and outages. But strategies have to ensure that the organization’s needs and goals does not compromise customer service, retention or impede market growth. It has to be based on the analysis of all data at hand and deriving key insights from relevant information rather than relying on guesswork or following the competition.

Big data analysis is able to meet these objectives. It derives value from data beyond traditional business intelligence tools and correlates all data in all forms for relevant solutions.

Market Growth And Operational Limitations

The wealth of data being created every minute of every day can bring value to the travel and transport industry, from the smallest agency to the largest global provider. It means understanding the behavior of existing customers, maintaining customer loyalty, identifying emerging trends, acquiring new customers and analyzing industry-relevant consumer behavior through multiple channels, from in-house data to website logs and social media chatter.

It also means a better understanding of the business operation particularly in the freight industry where data from equipment, vehicles and warehousing need to be correlated with transactional data and ensure the availability and capacity to meet with customer demand. At a time when streamlining the operation is as crucial to maintaining profitability as growing the customer base, big data can offer new insights of within the organization as much as of the market itself.