Why the travel industry needs an analytics evolution

For most travel organizations, there are walls within their analytics garden blocking the flow of information

As part of the digitization of the travel industry, large organizations across the ecosystem are looking to their business objectives and shared KPIs to break down the walls keeping them from accessing data.

When we think about the future of the travel industry, we picture a world where every organization is like a garden growing their best ideas and cultivating their business with data and analytics. For most companies right now, there are walls within that garden blocking the flow of information. Fragmented databases and department siloes are the walls dividing that garden.

Today’s leading organizations in other verticals figured out before their competitors how to be the first in knocking down the walls of their gardens. They now manage an analytics portfolio, making more money faster for a lower cost.

No matter the business focus—messaging, consumer segmentation, market discovery, contract management, route planning, etc.—these key business drivers are all just parts of a larger strategy to monitor internal performance, identify areas for business growth, and manage day-to-day operations.

It should be expected that the travel industry will follow a similar path toward data-driven business development. The most cost-effective, successful travel and technology companies will manage analytics vendors (internal or external) that solve each primary business need.

Where can a travel company start?

New research from IDC’s  “The State of Data Science and Analytics” states that “data is the lifeblood of digital transformation with over 80% of organizations leveraging data across multiple organizational processes.”

In creating a healthy garden for cultivating analytics and insights, large scale travel companies, like airlines and online travel agencies (OTAs), often face challenges with sourcing the data. Teams separated by department siloes are further isolated from lack of communication and shared objectives.

This is because many service providers are hesitant to share their data with others. Even when they do, the data from one service provider is often limited in scope, so airlines are forced to consult additional sources. The result is a mishmash of data from various sources, which makes it incredibly difficult to analyze.

Digitizing a process does not matter if you cannot get value out of it, and while we are definitely here to help digitize the travel experience, we believe it starts with an “analytics evolution.”

We’ve identified three key setbacks in the current approach to traditional data sharing:

1. Incomplete Data

Data is often incomplete, for a number of reasons. In some cases, data is not collected at all. In other cases, organizations may collect data, but fail to share it between their own teams or process it into meaningful data sets. Other times, individual service providers collect data but choose not to share it with others—perhaps due to competitive tension.

2. Inaccurate Data

Depending on how data is intended to be used, it may be held to varying standards with regard to how and how often it should be measured. As a result, data provided by some service providers may be inaccurate for the needs of others. This can be particularly problematic if a service provider exposes data which has limited internal value, since they have little incentive to ensure its accuracy.

3. Unpredictable Data

Naturally, when data is collected from multiple sources, it follows a variety of measurements, standards, and technical formats. As the number of sources increases, more and more effort has to be spent homogenizing the data. With large amounts of data, this grooming can present a serious technical constraint.

A secondary issue in the traditional approach to sharing data is the lack of infrastructure. As a by-product of data being separated across multiple service providers—few of whom operate in the data business itself—current data sharing is simply inefficient from a technical point of view.

Time for change

The bottom line is that data is required for richer, deeper analytics, but the path to building those analytics capabilities will always be blocked if organizations are struggling to access the data they need. Being able to collate and blend data not only determines the speed at which the industry can answer questions but also the types of questions it can answer at all.

Tackling the challenges of data sharing and changing behavior to make data more free-flowing is the first step in driving the analytics evolution. Breaking down the walls in your analytics garden doesn’t only create efficiencies, it brings you closer to the insight you need to stay competitive and could mean the difference between survival and extinction in the new digital age.

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Interested in what the Cirium data portfolios and smart analytics can do for your business? Read about our innovations or how our solutions develop commercial strategy and improve the traveler experience.

In our recent whitepaper, we dive into what data airlines need to develop the most effective strategies for air travel personalization. Download your free copy now to learn how to start bringing the right resources together to support your personalization efforts.

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