Trends and challenges that are shaping the travel industry

The current big thing with businesses is data – and lots of it! All businesses collect data but is it used properly to really optimise the potential of the valuable data?
When data is used in the right way, data can deliver streamlined efficiency and a better customer experience for your travel business. But achieving this in a rapidly changing environment is anything but easy.
From keeping on top of big trends such as the big ones; meta-search, data scraping, data analytics, holiday rentals and homestays, to skilling up and spending in the right place, analytics teams must be statistically minded and strategically focused.

 

Meta-search
All major travel companies are turning towards the growing trend of meta-search. For the ‘super-optimiser’ group of customers – those that spend multiple days looking at dozens of different options, this presents a huge opportunity – let’s face it, everyone loves a bargain and go somewhere that’s really nice only paying a discounted rate towards it.

For example, suppliers and online travel agents can now look to measure how users are ‘comparison shopping’ and reading reviews on meta-search sites before coming to the brand’s own site to book directly.

Meta-search is very powerful in assisting customer research and booking. However, just because ‘meta’ is becoming an increasingly global and meaningful source of traffic for partners in the industry, an analytics team probably doesn’t need to adjust their overall strategy. Rather businesses can integrate ‘meta’ into the business processes model like any other traffic source.
At ardent we have helped a number of businesses build their own Meta system or integrate one into their processes seamlessly. We ensure that the Meta is driving last-click bookings and the software is showing how is Meta assisting in bookings.
Technology spend
One of the biggest challenges facing analytics’ teams is how to maximise their budgets so that any investment delivers greater profitability.
Hiring people to build Meta data systems can be so costly but looking at other options can be a better way to go. Hiring a development partner who has experience with building Meta and with good background in travel and seem a better option. We have worked with a number of businesses in building Meta systems and have proven to help with business growth. It’s an investment that’s big, but well worth your while.
For example, lastminute.com was able to make substantial savings on the back of a multi-million dollar investment. They saved and scaled making their company dynamic, current and one of the main leads in their industry.

 

The multi-device, multichannel world
When looking at strategies and analysing the data, there’s a number of things to factor in; the cross channel measurement – meaning from mobile to tablet or mobile to desktop etc., cross product – such as from flights to hotels, and cross media -video to SEM. In each of these buckets the industry is working on solutions.

Especially with cross-device behaviour, among smartphone users approximately 47% of travel research sessions are started on smartphone vs 38% starting on a desktop. In October of 2014, Google had announced the approximate total conversions to help measure cross-device activity. This can help brands to measure when a user researches on a smartphone and then, as a next step, purchase on a desktop or other device. When advertisers in the travel industry use AdWords estimated cross-device conversions, they are able to measure 8% more conversions, on average, than they did before.

 

Let’s go Mobile
The future is Mobile. Customers are using more than just communicating, they are using to search, buy, book and sell. So it only seems fitting that 2015 should see mobile boom in the travel industry. Travel businesses should start seeing majority traffic coming from mobile. What is more the ratio of customers using mobile to book has been growing year on year to a quarter of all travellers in 2013. Over two years from 2011 to 2013, 63% more travel suppliers saw mobile booking volumes increase. So there is no doubt that the majority of traffic in the future is going to come from a mobile device.

Data is so big and it’s getting bigger in 2015. What you do with the big data is what counts. You need to ensure that you have the right Meta data system that is bespoke to your business, capturing and translating data that is most relevant to your business and type of customers you need to appeal to. We have helped a number of businesses with Meta data from a variety of industries including travel, media, retail, entertainment etc.