What is the principal product of the tourism industry? Is it the hotels? The flight tickets and bus bookings? The entry fee at amusement parks and the souvenirs? You know the answer. It is the experience. A good tourism company tries to figure out what we crave to experience and a great tourism company creates the craving for a certain experience based on our behaviour on different social and digital platforms, our previous experiences. They have turned wanderlust into a business and we absolutely love it.
Tourism and social media
I love mountains and I do not hide it. Last month I logged into a facebook group where people shared images of the Himalayas and the Karakorams, the two highest mountain ranges on the face of the earth. The first one is in India and the other one in Pakistan and Pak occupied Kashmir. Not thirty minutes later I got a suggestion from a travel agency which wanted to help me buy Tickets to Delhi and another one that wanted me to go trekking in the Spiti Valley. Their analytical models sniffed out my wanderlust and they engaged in some targeted marketing. It did not work with me because I did not have money for a vacation right then. But what it did succeed in doing was planting another seed of craving.
The travel wars
Tourism is an extremely profitable industry. If you think about it you will realize that in most cases the experiences being sold do not require any investment. For instance if you go scuba diving in the Indian Ocean the agency that arranges it does not need to create the site for the experience. The same goes for a mountain trek or a forest safari. No wonder hundreds of companies scramble for dominance around the areas of attraction. This competitive environment forces them to make extensive use of data analytics. A lot of different factors including weather, special events, seasonal holidays, impact the concentration of travellers at a location and companies need to use data driven insights to make the most of these situations.
How things work
With events approaching the hotel prices go high and the companies that can price their services lower than the average are likely to make maximum profits. So, they need to go through the internal and external data regarding pricing in the previous years. They also take into account the economic situation of the countries and areas which account for the maximum number of tourists during that particular event. They can strategize the marketing drives to meet the consumer demands and in some cases manipulate those demands. All of these can be done with the help of analytics professionals.
The marriage of two industries
The travel industry is at the top of the list of industries that make the most out of the analytics industry. Interestingly enough, they depend almost entirely on the analytics as a service sector with very few travel agencies appointing in house analytics teams. Even though it may not be apparent, tourism pushes the demand of analytics professionals up. A lot of aspirants receiving big data training in Malaysia today will probably end up running analytical models for the tourism industry, which of course has its own excitements.