The Society of Consumer Affairs professionals recently showcased how vital it is for the travel industry to effectively manage the millions of records about travel behavior that the industry generates each day. Big data is a critical tool in the travel and tourism industry, as airlines, hotels and reservation sites are able to utilize data to improve booking ratios, boost revenue yield and improve customer satisfaction.Airline collects data

Herve Couturier, executive VP at reservation services giant Amadeus, said that big data is arguably the biggest opportunity in a generation for travel businesses to embrace the changing structure of data and maximize its use. It offers the potential for a vast shift for all travel companies, empowering them to enhance both the business and experience of travel.

Couturier’s company is seeing tangible, pragmatic business benefits using big data, whether it’s to increase the look-to-book ratio, decrease the cost of operations, boost revenue yields or increase customer satisfaction.


Sanjay Nagalia, COO and co-founder of IDeaS Revenue Solutions, said that the travel industry’s big data story continues to bubble over with an increasing amount of emerging data sources – including social media, smartphone use, sensor data, reputation management engines, web traffic sources, customer profiles, weather and airline reports. Customer-centric data in particular, he says, can be used to create the right offer through the right channel at the right time and place.

The extensive personalization of offerings to match each segment of the customer base may represent the best opportunity for the application of big data in the travel industry. Travel companies can make better decisions based on the data aggregated from their customers to personal services such as travel booking to making websites easier to navigate. Enhancing customer service is the goal of every business in the travel industry.

By using big data, it is possible to make an informed prediction regarding whether a person prefers a hotel that is pet-friendly or would prefer to stay in a hotel similar to one that a friend has stayed in -Gillian Morris, CEO of Hitlist

Airlines, hotels, cruise companies, travel management, railways and travel agencies have an opportunity to vastly improve their businesses and the customer experience by analyzing the big data now available at their fingertips, but this information isn’t always easy to collect, identify and analyze, which is why data scientists and data analysts are being asked to work across various platforms to gather the myriad of data points created by social media and web traffic sources.


An example of big data and advanced analytics in action is British Airways Know Meprogram, which goes beyond the loyalty programs that are based strictly on mileage rewards. The Know Me program uses technology that can actually spot when passengers choose window seats for short-haul flights and aisle seats for long-haul flights because they want to stretch their legs, and that pattern can be repeated automatically.

Sojern, the world’s leading performance-marketing platform for travel brands, is collecting and aggregating information across airlines, hotels, rental car agencies and credit card companies and is using machine learning and advanced data analytics to develop rich profiles of segments of travelers to determine when people go, where they go, how many people are traveling and preferred brands, travel times and class of service.



There is no question that data analytics is presenting big opportunities in the travel industry. By obtaining a degree in data science and gaining the requisite skill sets, you will be in high demand to travel companies, who are well aware of the potential benefits of combining internal data sources with external data sets to solve problems, cut costs and anticipate future events.