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Made to Order: Data analytics helps travel and hospitality industry players customise offerings

August 14, 2015
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The growth of the Indian travel and hospitality sector has been encouraging, mainly due to the increase in the disposable incomes of consumers. However, the rise in consumer numbers has also led to challenges for industry players in terms of delivering world-class services, and providing value for money at lower costs. In order to gain a competitive advantage, companies in the sector are adopting telecom and IT solutions for customising products and services to meet user requirements. Within the technology domain, analytics is emerging as the key for overcoming the difficulties that come with varying customer demands, increased competition and cost pressures.

The majority of players in the industry are deploying analytics to create a strong and loyal customer base for their brands. These days, new-age travellers enjoy a greater degree of mobility and are connected through multiple devices and applications. They are also active on various social media networking platforms and can freely exchange information and views. This provides industry players the opportunity of following and tracking customers to study their preferences and spending power. Analytics helps organisations interpret relevant data and use this to add value to businesses.

Travel and hospitality players can use data analytics in the following key areas:

  • Loyalty services: Through analytics, managers can determine customer behaviour by identifying the likes and dislikes of individuals, as well as their buying preferences and spending capacity. All these factors can be combined to create customised offerings for different user segments and even individual clients. Analytics can also help players identify loyal customers and accordingly provide them with personalised services, targeted messages, special offers and discounts, and value-added services. All these measures can help organisations strengthen customer relationships and improve their rates of customer retention.
  • Marketing: Insights into user behaviour and mobility patterns help organisations identify the right channels for reaching out to a target audience. On the basis of segmented data, they can choose from various media like the internet, mobile phones and email to connect with customers. Travel and hospitality players that are using analytics are in a strong position to run effective marketing, advertising and promotional campaigns and are likely to be successful in delivering targeted messages to important customers.
  • Cross-selling and upselling: Organisations can leverage analytics to improve revenues by identifying cross-selling and upselling product and service opportunities through customer segmentation on the basis of data related to purchase histories. These days, users are increasingly looking for customised services, and real-time analytics provides managers with adequate information to devise tailormade products, create various price points, and decide on the mode of service delivery. Thus, players can come up with bundled offerings based on choices, requirements and the purchasing capacity of new as well as repeat customers.
  • Capacity planning and price optimisation: Depending on the varying degrees of demand and supply, managers have to offer their customers dynamic pricing. At the same time, they have to ensure that they utilise their fleet or hotel capacities to the optimum so that assets do not lie idle and there is minimal revenue loss. Analytics can play a big role in helping the management predict occupancy trends by extrapolating current and historical data so that players can forecast demand and determine the relevant pricing structures for various services.
  • Operational efficiency: Robust infrastructure and healthy equipment are crucial for ensuring efficient operations in the travel and hospitality sector. Physical assets require regular monitoring and maintenance, and any outage or breakage can result in revenue losses on account of unhappy customers. Predictive analytics enables the management to take preventive measures and detect the possibility of any network breakdown or wear and tear of physical assets in advance.

All in all, analytics is an effective tool through which managers can extrapolate data and compare different metrics to arrive at optimal decisions on cost, profits and pricing. Analytics provides the travel and hospitality industry a framework for data-driven decision-making, thereby helping organisations enhance customer experience by delivering products and services at the right time and at appealing price points. Organisations can use different tools like predictive modelling and data mining to carry out the requisite quantitative analyses and put themselves in a strong position to meet the changing requirements of customers.

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