Big Data & the Travel Industry

Big data has the potential to transform how travel companies deliver services to travellers, according to the latest study by Amadeus.

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. As with any generational shift in technology, however, the opportunities arrive hand-in-hand with the potential for significant disruption, which naturally bring many challenges – competitive and creative – for the travel industry to consider.

Amadeus Big Data Report
Amadeus Big Data Report

“At the Big Data Crossroads: turning towards a smarter travel experience”, an independent study just published by Amadeus, explores the impact of large volume, unstructured data known as big data on the global travel industry.

The study finds that travel companies are at a crucial big data crossroads: big data has a vital role to play in delivering a more efficient and tailored travel experience with benefits to both travel companies and travelers alike. However, its potential is still confined to early adopters in the travel sector, and it calls for more widespread consideration across the industry about how new approaches to big data can yield significant opportunities.

Big Data- means for Travel

Here is an overview of the major points:

Big data offers significant benefits for all travel companies
The benefits of big data for travel providers and travelers are explored, including:
• Better decision support
• New products and services
• Better customer relationships
• Cheaper, faster data processing

Big data in the travel industry is currently being driven by early adopters

The diverse ways in which big data is being used by early adopters in the travel industry are investigated, with a focus on:
• Optimizing revenue management
• Customizing travel distribution
• Transforming corporate travel
• Enhancing internal operations
• Boosting financial performance

Challenges need to be overcome so the industry can realize the potential of big data

The study acknowledges the technical and operational challenges associated with big data adoption in the industry, namely:
• Creating an integrated data source
• Working in a hybrid technological environment
• Overcoming the data skills shortage (an issue in all industries adopting big data)
• Maintaining competitive advantage

Finally, here is a series of recommendations for travel companies preparing to embrace big data:

  • Research big data
  • Strategize about big data 
  • Don’t just explore big data technology – look at the changes you will need to make to business and operational    processes too
  • Start assembling big data skills 
  • Work with partners

Find the Full Report here

View this and all the latest Tourism & Travel Trends and Developments in Trendspotting 2013.

New Travel Trends Report 2013

The comprehensive ABTA Consumer Trends Survey sets out the reasons why the travel industry should be optimistic for 2013.

Feedback from the recently launched ABTA Consumer Trends Survey shows that holidays are the item consumers would be most unwilling to cut back on. The continued squeeze on household finances is, however, expected to see holidaymakers continue to look for good value holidays in 2013, with 7 in 10 (70%) consumers saying good value is essential or important when booking a holiday.

The outlook for the high street looks positive for 2013, with many companies continuing last year’s trend of opening flagship and “experience” stores, following in the footsteps of Apple.

Consumer sentiment towards travel agents also appears to have become more positive over the past twelve months. Customers appear to be rediscovering the benefits and skills of travel agents with the number that value their services climbing from 30% to 40%.

2013 is expected to be another good year for the all-inclusive and luxury sectors.

With continued economic uncertainty and low consumer confidence, families are expected to continue to put faith in the destinations they know best. Spain, Greece, Italy, the USA, France, Cyprus and Turkey are expected to continue to be the most popular destinations for holidaymakers in 2013.

The ABTA Consumer Trends Survey suggests that holidaymakers are feeling more adventurous going into 2013 about the types of holiday they plan to take. While demand for city breaks and beach holidays is expected to hold steady, there is an increase in demand for more active and differentiated holidays.

ABTA Travel Trends Report 2013

Key Trends 2013

1. Tailor-Made Experiences

While tailor-made tours used to be just for the luxury end of the market there are now many tour operators offering more affordable options due to the growth in popularity of this kind of holiday.

The rise of multi-centre holidays where holidaymakers may combine two or more destinations in their trip are also growing in popularity and fuelling the trend for tailor-made holidays.

2. In Search of Adventure

According to ABTA research 5% of consumers are expected to take an adventure or challenge holiday in 2013. Whether its hot air ballooning in Turkey or white water rafting in Northern Spain, tour operators are offering more options to cater for holidaymakers’ growing sense of adventure.

3. Value 

One trend expected in 2013 is for consumers to book earlier to secure good value deals for their holidays. ABTA research shows that a third (34%) of consumers booked their holiday further in advance in 2012 compared to the prior year. The top reason cited for booking further in advance was to secure better deals/cheaper prices (68%).

All-inclusives are expected to experience strong demand in 2013, building on their success in 2012.

4. Package Vs DIY 

The trend is likely to be fuelled by consumers valuing the security and cost effectiveness that package holidays provide, particularly in the current economic climate.

In 2012 nearly half (48%) of people who took an overseas holiday booked a package, compared to 42% in 2011 and 37% in 2010. The trend is particularly marked among 35-44 year olds: over half (51%) said they had booked an overseas package holiday in 2012, compared with just over a third (36%) in 2011.

The findings also show there has been a slight decrease in the number of people booking and paying for their travel and accommodation separately – or “DIY” bookings. 39% of people said they booked an overseas DIY holiday in 2012 compared to 43% in 2011.

5. Luxury – return of the big holiday 

The luxury market has performed remarkably well in recent years. 2013 is expected to be a particularly good year for luxury tour operators with some tour operators predicting that those who have held back on a big, long-haul holiday in recent years will take that trip in 2013.

6. Train, Coach and Cruise

It’s expected that in 2012 more UK passengers than ever before will have taken an ocean cruise holiday, with the figure rising to 1.72 million – 20,000 passengers more than 2011.

ABTA is also seeing a slight rise in demand for train and coach holidays, with 9% of consumers saying they plan to take a coach holiday in 2013, compared to 8% who took one  in 2012 and 9% planning a train holiday compared to 6% who took one in 2012. The increase  can be attributed to people seeking alternative options to flying, the growth of high speed rail and consumers looking for good value holidays.

7. Age group trends 

Younger travellers are taking more holidays. Those aged 15-24  took on average almost five breaks in the UK or overseas in the past 12 months compared to an average of four holidays during the same period a year ago. 25-34 year olds took an average of 4.5 holidays in the UK and overseas compared to four a year ago. Across all age groups the average number of holidays taken abroad and at home was 3.5 breaks. In total  those aged 15-34 take more holidays abroad than any other age group.

Short breaks, particularly to music festivals, are particularly popular amongst younger travellers, with 15% of those aged 15-24 planning a trip of this kind.

8. Space Tourism 

2013 will be a historic year for space tourism with the first consumer flight into space being launched by Virgin Galactic. Cost is likely to prohibit this becoming anything but a travel trend for the mega-rich in the immediate future but it is certainly a landmark event for the travel industry.

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