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“Big data” revolutionises online travel marketing

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Prescriptive analytics suggest personal options to consumers

Some of the most interesting recent developments in travel technology concern “big data” and prescriptive analytics, Euromonitor analyst insight by Angelo Rossini suggests.

Technological developments and the possibility of identifying online consumers through unique IDs are going to be some of the most significant factors affecting the online travel environment in the next few years.

Big data analytics will increasingly enable companies to target consumers in a more personalised and effective way through the marketing mix, Rossini says. This will mean higher conversion rates for companies and a better consumer experience for customers.

But these developments will also see some companies gain ground in the online competitive environment thanks to their superior ability to collect and analyse consumer data, and other companies to become less competitive, unable to target consumers in this way.

Today, companies have the possibility to collect a wealth of information about consumers, which was never available in the past. This information is collected through internal sources, such as company websites and sales records, and external ones such as social media, smartphones and tablets. This vast amount of information on consumers is often referred to as big data.

When a consumer visits a website for the first time, a cookie is sometimes uploaded on his browser containing a unique ID, making it possible for the company to identify him during his next visits. Once identified, it will be possible to link the consumer to all the information the company stored about his profile, which makes personalised marketing possible.

A further step is in the way data on consumers is analysed and used. In order to provide consumers with a personalised experience and ultimately increase conversion rates, “companies need to move from descriptive to prescriptive analytics of the information they own on consumers”, Rossini explains.

Descriptive analytics tell us what happens in terms of consumer behaviour and why. Predictive analytics give predictions on future consumer behaviour. But it’s the following stage, prescriptive analytics, which enables companies to use information to suggest personalised options to consumers based on their past behaviour. Today, websites and apps can analyse consumer information in real time to offer personalised travel options instantly.

Euromonitor

[pictured: Google servers; courtesy Google]

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