Travel is failing to mine its rich seams of customer data

The travel industry is failing to capitalise on the vast array of insights it has into its customers despite having more information than most other retail sectors.

Analyst Henry Harteveldt told the first t-Retailing Summit hosted in Dublin by travel technology specialist Open Jaw that the travel sector was failing to structure the information it has appropriately.

Harteveldt, whose US company Atmosphere Research Group advises the industry on strategy, called on the sector to get better at harnessing the data it already has.

“We are sitting on a mountain of data,” he said. “There are disparate systems out there and you need to gather up all the information you have and use it to respond, anticipate and react.

“Websites, call centres, click-through rates and data from social media sites all present information coming in from different sources in different languages and we need to be able to structure it all which is not happening at the moment generally.

“You only have to look at the fact that in the UK, 30% of airline passengers are now on Twitter to understand the immenseness of the data out there about your brand’s users.”

Harteveldt identified mobile and the move towards personalisation as key trends for travel.

“You almost need to anticipate the consumer so that you are cross-selling stuff to them before they even realise they need it. With all the information that the industry now has, that’s possible and companies should be doing it.”

For a full report on last week’s Open Jaw t-Retailing Summit see the next edition of Travolution out next month.

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