Last updated: 10:30 AM ET, Thu June 09 2016

Big Data: The Way for Travel Companies to Get Ahead

Travel Agent | Amadeus North America | Janeen Christoff | June 09, 2016

Big Data: The Way for Travel Companies to Get Ahead

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Amadeus has released a new report, “Defining the Future of Travel Through Intelligence,” that demonstrates the importance of transforming big data into meaningful insights. The report notes that, in an age of experimentation, the travel industry needs to be able to act fast. It says that two important trends have emerged over the last 10 years: the rise of big data and the growth in the scale of computing power and storage. These trends have led to “an unprecedented potential for innovation, disruption and new ideas in the travel space,” says the report.

“Companies that succeed will be those that embrace this new age. But in addition, those that succeed will also be those that ensure that their systems and processes allow for the rapid generation of insights, as well as the rapid deployment of the actions needed to capitalize on those insights,” said Pascal Clement, head of travel intelligence, in the forward of the report.

This isn’t the first time that Amadeus has commissioned a report on the benefits and prospects that big data can create. The company wrote another paper on big data in 2013, “At the Big Data Crossroads,” that was done by Thomas Davenport, an expert in data and analytics. Davenport examined what the advent of big data and predictive analytics meant for the travel industry and outlined a number of recommendations for travel companies who wanted to maximize the opportunity to utilize this type of information. In 2013, there were only a few early adopters.

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Three years later, there is a new landscape and the need for big data and analytics has never been more important in a world where travel companies face a market that has been disrupted by new entrants into the market space. Brands now face more competition than ever before — and in emerging areas of commerce, including the effects of the sharing economy.

“There’s an appetite amongst consumers to go beyond simply booking travel at the lowest price,” said Herve Couturier, executive vice president of R&D at Amadeus. “What we are seeing now is a growing demand for personalization and content enrichment.”

The report finds that the future travel brand isn’t just about transporting people, unveiling new destinations or organizing trips. Now, travel brands must be about a progressive, completely 360-degree view of the traveler and everything that goes into creating special, unique, memorable experiences, making the importance of gathering and analyzing available data about consumer habits an essential component of every brand’s business model.

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“At every moment in the traveler’s journey, from the time they make an air booking or search for a train timetable online, to their hotel check in, their actions create data,” said Francisco Pérez-Lozao Rüter, senior vice president, new businesses at Amadeus. “This data, picked up from hundreds of points across the travel ecosystem, presents a valuable opportunity for travel companies to provide better individualized services to the traveler and improve his or her experience.”

Big data is, essentially, the way to get ahead, according to the report. Companies that can harness this data and other external factors, including weather, geographical conditions, social media consumption and more, will be able to create breakthrough products.

“As market dynamics in the travel industry evolve with unprecedented rapidity and new competitive threats emerge, responsiveness to your environment becomes the key to success and growth,” said Clement. “Companies that embrace a culture of collaboration, combined with a flexible and agile technology environment, will be rewarded.”

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