Dream Destinations: Data Science and the Travel Industry

"In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion."

 

Robert Runcie

Tourism is vital for many countries, such as Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Spain and Thailand, and many island nations, such as The Bahamas, Fiji, Maldives and the Seychelles, due to the large intake of money for businesses with their goods and services and the opportunity for employment in the service industries associated with tourism. These service industries include transportation services, such as airlines, cruise ships and taxis, hospitality services, such as accommodations, including hotels and resorts, and entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, casinos, shopping malls, various music venues and the theatre.

The Travel, Tourism and Hospitality industries are witnessing competition growing at an all time high pace. In such a scenario, maximizing customer lifetime value by utilizing analytical tools to identify new prospects and by providing progressive service to retain existing customers will be critical. Customer satisfaction is the fundamental measure for the contact center and directly impacts financial results. Every industry today is facing increasing competition finding and retaining customers. Faced with increasing choices for products and services, customer's expectations are continuously rising. In many industries, customer service is the only remaining differentiator. To be successful in this environment, companies must implement a strategy that manages the entire customer lifetime value. This is especially true in the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality (TTH) industry.

Lifetime Value of a Customer

Successful companies look to service delivery providers to enhance their business processes through the use of customer analytics, performance optimization and by implementing progressive customer service solutions. By embedding analytics in every step of a customer’s lifecycle, businesses have found that they are better at predicting a customer’s likely behavior and thus can improve the balance sheet and drive shareholder value. In many cases, services from individual TTH providers can be difficult to distinguish from each other and offering a unique and satisfying customer experience can differentiate one product and provide a reason for customers to stay with you over time.

ANALYTICS DRIVEN SOLUTIONS FOR THE INDUSTRY

When evaluating service provider’s delivery capabilities, it is important to consider their operational excellence, global right-sourcing expertise, and technological innovation - these are the methods that will enable your organization to maximize the value of every customer interaction. By applying analytics to an organization’s existing blended quality model, and through leveraging ISO, COPC, and Six Sigma methodologies and processes, progressive service providers can reduce clients operational costs, improve customer satisfaction levels and increase revenues.

DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ANALYTICS DRIVEN SOLUTIONS

The goal is creating actionable insights for marketers. Techniques and tools at ATI can be used to analyze marketing and other revenue enhancing initiatives through quantitative models. These relevant quantitative tools (e.g. predictive modeling, data mining, etc.) are used to collaborate and build appropriate models that provide valuable insights, and then make them actionable (e.g. enhanced campaign response rates, better cross-sell etc.) to achieve desired business outcomes. These packages can further be used in determining the following critical decisions:

How can I prioritize whom to target? 

Which prospects will respond to this campaign? 

How can I acquire more customers who look like my best customers? 

How do I optimize my campaign dollars by focusing on the right prospects? 

How can I compare the characteristics of different segments to determine segment-specific actions? 

What is the profitability and channel usage of each of my guest segments?

Which of my guest are good candidates for cross-selling? 

Which products or services are most appropriate? 

What is the best time and channel to make an offer? 

How can I precisely target my cross-sell offers to reduce the possibility of customer fatigue? 

What is the expected demand from various customer segments? 

How do I price the inventory (of seats, rooms, etc.) to maximize my revenue? 

How will I reserve my inventory to my most valuable customers? 

How can I use pricing as a tool to enhance my revenues, in a scientific manner? 

EXAMPLE FROM THE INDUSTRY

SAS FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION

The travel and transportation industries continually strive to improve speed, efficiency, flexibility, service area and the customer experience, while reducing costs and improving profits. Transportation is the backbone of our entire commercial ecosystem. Advances in engineering and technology are applying pressure on the industry to keep pace with the growing needs of the economy both local and global. Travel is tightly coupled with the hospitality industry and is about building strong customer loyalty and using various sources of customer information for greater insight to move from frequency-oriented marketing to more value- or service-oriented programs.

http://www.sas.com/industry/travel/index.html

HOW ATI CAN HELP

ATI aims at training and aiding professionals for tourism market research, audience development, custom survey research, and market segmentation studies to help clients understand the economic impact and visitor makeup of their marketplace.