During a recent travel event an article published in 2017 by Co-Founder and CEO of theICEway, Ian Richardson, was discussed during one of the panels: “How Reporting and BI Solutions support the Travel Industry”. Today we revisit that piece to see how relevant it remains three years on, with reflections from Richardson himself…
The article, posted in August, began by touching upon the ultra-competitive nature of the industry and how a glut of travel brands were all vying for the edge using a wealth of different platforms and systems.
Ian, three years ago you described a playing field built upon “price wars, cutting-edge promotional campaigns, challenges of safety and security, and round-the-clock operations”.
Here on theICEway we have spent the best part of two decades working with our clients’ IT teams to deliver IT solutions for travel, so we’ve managed to gain a good understanding of the industry. Back then, the major players were battling between not only themselves but also with a number of independent operators and everyone was caught up in a game of cat and mouse to some degree, with loss-leader promotions and low deposit schemes joined by an increase in advertising coverage and a real embracing of social and review-based platforms. Travel was, and still is really, so fast-paced that companies had to be incredibly agile to gain or keep momentum.
You also talked about “the digitalisation of travel”.
Real time connectivity and a continued growth in online activity were allowing people to make their own travel arrangements by booking flights and hotel stays, and we also saw that with our clients in the cruise industry too. The huge growth in millennial travel also meant a greater use of mobile applications, and all of this generated a vast amount of data; as an IT company, we knew that for our clients to flourish, it was crucial that we harnessed that data to allow us to understand emerging trends and how to operate around them.
To read the original article and to gain a better understanding of BI reporting, real time visualisation, big data, predictive analytics, trend modelling and much more, and how you can use these today to improve your overall performance, click here.
The article included some very interesting numbers, including an estimate from Allied Market Research which stated that the online travel market was set to grow at a CAGR of 11.1%.
It did, from memory the actual number as a monetary value was almost $1.1 billion globally and interestingly, there was another report just last month from MarketWatch which stated that the market is now expected to grow to just over that by 2023 – which just goes to show how robust the travel industry remains, even during this difficult period.
Given that factor, is it safe to assume that the importance of using data is still as high as it was back when your article was published?
It’s difficult to assume anything these days but data is always going to be a vitally important aspect for any organisation, regardless of the industry, and its even more important how you use that data to augment your existing efforts. We are still being asked to help with visibility in that regard, and companies are very much still looking to automate a lot of their back-office processes. I don’t think that is going to change, because no matter what the situation with the world, it is clear that continued digital growth is now expected in general.
The article then went on to focus upon reporting and BI solutions in travel, specifically outlining their relevance.
Simply put, travel companies need to have access to data-driven insights so that they can stay effective and strive towards innovation – something that we ourselves are constantly aiming for. No matter whether there are thousands, hundreds or tens of bookings being generated, there is an absolute wealth of data to be analysed and learnt from for every single customer, from which you can gather a huge amount of insight. Unless you are actively mining for this insight, the data is of little value, and that is as true today as it ever was.
BI – Business Intelligence
CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate