This week, we’re talking about travel, and the travel industry in particular, because of many reasons.
First of all, we all love to travel.
Second, travel company ads have taken over all my screens.
Moreover, there has been a massive shift in the way we think of travel and the travel industry at large.
This shift is from a position that was mainly considered non-tech or managerial to a strictly technical industry driven by data of all types and from all sources. This article is about why data scraping is important if you’re a part of the travel industry, or want to be a major player in the industry. Travel agencies, meta-search engines, review sites, airline companies, hotel business owners, homestay and rental owners, no matter who you are in the travel industry, data scraping has an array of benefits for you.
The Changing Face of the Travel Industry
Anyone who has been on the internet also knows that the best place to ask questions with absolutely no hesitation is also the internet. Try a slightly different variation of search keywords, and you get somewhat better answers.
My friend Shweta surfs the internet a lot for travel ideas and plans. She goes through several review websites like TripAdvisor to select a place of stay. She then visits price comparison websites like Trivago and uses an OTA (Online Travel Agency) like Booking.com to finally book a hotel for her stay.
A significant development is the growth of applications that cater to a growing population that loves to travel. For instance, the Facebook Family of Apps (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger) has emerged as the top online channel for destination inspiration in the 18-34 age group.
Another research shows that the leading travel site used in the United States is TripAdvisor. The review site had the highest share of travel website visits in 2016 at 13.8 per cent.
The Online Travel Industry
Many complex factors influence a customer’s travel decision. The most important of these are social media and travel review websites.
So, let’s break up this new online travel industry. On the one hand, there are travel e-commerce websites, selling travel products such as hotels, flights and rental cars. You can either directly avail these products and services from the corresponding company website or depend on an OTA. On the other hand, there are travel review websites, where travellers post their experience at hotels. Moreover, these sites have reviews of travel products purchased online.
Data scraping, or web scraping, is the process of gathering information from the internet in a hassle-free manner. It does not involve the use of repetitive typing or copy-pasting. Web scraping tools work by searching for the required data, putting this data together and storing them on a computer. Studies show that the travel industry is the third most likely business sector to be scraped. Here a few reasons why data scraping is a big deal in almost any industry:
- Time: One of the most significant advantages of data scraping is that it saves time. Typically, a manual data search is tedious and can take up hours and days of work. Data scraping, on the other hand, is faster and more efficient than conventional methods of data collection.
- Effort: Data scraping provides easy access to the data found. The final output is structured data which can be used without further processing. Clean, structured data from the web can be used for several purposes. Therefore, data scraping reduces the effort required to collect data.
- Cost: With data scraping, you can easily start your own internet travel business. The scraped data provides a large number of listings that can be displayed on your website.
- Accuracy: Manual scraping, apart from a high rate of repetition and long-time duration, has a high probability of error. Automated methods of data scraping are efficient with a good accuracy rate.
How Does the Travel Industry take Advantage of Data Scraping?
These complicated online booking trends present some challenges for the travel industry. The industry now requires vast amounts of data from various sources. These sources include search engines, airlines, social media, local events, hotels, the government and OTAs. Undeniably, companies in the travel industry need smart, data-driven approaches to their marketing and sales strategy.
Well, if you’re a part of the steadily growing travel industry, you need to unlearn the past ways and focus on new rules for driving sales and customer satisfaction.
- Know the Customer: To improve customer engagement, you need to know them. Once you get to know what they want, the next step is to improve your performance. To know your customer as a player in the travel industry, you need data: social media, email, peer reviews, online advertising and search results.
- Know the Market: Studying the market is as important as analysing the trends of your customers.
What Travel Data can be Scraped?
Travellers often produce and share so much data about themselves. Online purchases, digital itineraries, GPS co-ordinates and social media posts leave a long trail of data. All these add up to the creation of a massive data warehouse. This includes:
- Hotel Listings: Room Pricing, Room Availability, Promotions
- Who can use this Data: Meta-search Engines, OTAs
- Location Data: New Hotels, Rentals in a Location
- Who can use this Data: Meta-search Engines, OTAs
- Aviation Data: Airline Ticket Fares, Routes and Timestamps
- Who can use this Data: Airline Companies, Airports, Marketers
- Review and Feedback Data: Hotel Reviews, Travel Product Reviews
- Who can use this Data: OTAs, Review Websites
While data-based insights can improve every stage of the customer experience, as well as pricing strategy of the company, collecting and connecting that data is a real challenge without an expert. This brings us to the focus of this article: data scraping.
How Scraping Travel Data helps Travel and Hospitality Sites Function Better
The travel industry is brimming with travel sites which have an enormous collection of travel listings, hospitality reviews, and reviewers’ profiles. The availability of such data opens up many options for its use.
1. Travel Search Engine: You could aggregate the travel data to build a travel search engine. For example, Trivago and Kayak search other websites and use the data to function as a meta-search engine.
2. Enhance your Customer Service: The data could also be used to analyse trends in customer preferences and feedback regarding travel destinations, accommodation and transportation.
3. Self Updating Database: One of the most important applications is being able to monitor several fields related to the travel industry through a single database. Hence, the scraped data can help create a self-updating database of valuable information related to the travel industry.
4. Optimize Pricing: Another application lies in monitoring the prices of travel products. You can choose the ideal price point to stay competitive and bring in more customers. With data scraping, you can adjust your rates according to any change in pricing in competitor websites, maximizing your profits.
5. Market Analysis: Furthermore, studying the market offers considerable advantages, like being able to predict changes and prepare for them in advance.
6. Detect Minimum Assured Price Violation: Data scraping allows airline companies to verify that all of their distributors sell tickets at the minimum assured price or above, even while offering discounts.
In conclusion, data scraping in the travel industry allows even small players to take advantage of the big data in the field. Above all, this has broader implications in strengthening business and growing an efficient market strategy.
The Travel Industry: Looking Towards the Future
In a 2017 report on the impact of digital transformation in the travel industry, WEF summarised that digitization in travel and tourism will increase profitability throughout the travel ecosystem.
Companies within the travel industry are creating immense value from data-driven personalisation of services. The total value at stake is about $265 billion spread out across the industry. This includes industry value from migration to OTAs from agents and cost reduction. Likewise, there is customer value addition in the form of cost and time savings and value addition to society as job gains.
The travel industry is a highly competitive business environment today. Data holds the key to driving sales, reach and value. Like they say, without the data, you are just another person with an opinion.
The survival of each company inevitably depends on the investment in data scraping in the travel industry; its collection, aggregation and application. Consequently, companies with strong data analytics investment stay ahead of competitors or predict market trends. This creates the need for data scraping experts like Datahut.
Wish to extract travel industry-related data efficiently? Contact Datahut for affordable web scraping services.