Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Data Quality and Cleanliness the Biggest Challenge Reported by Travel Tech Professionals

46% of respondents to EyeforTravel’s industry-wide survey find that data quality and cleanliness is a challenge

EyeforTravel’s new State of Data and Analytics in Travel Report 2017 has identified data quality and cleanliness as the biggest challenge facing the more than 450 travel data professionals surveyed for the report.

According to Alex Hadwick, Head of research at EyeforTravel: “It is unlikely that this issue will diminish in the near future as the potential universe of data available to the travel and tourism industry is increasing exponentially. Travel brands will have to question whether they can adequately put in place systems to monitor data sources and prevent pollution as the potential universe of information expands way beyond what humans can respond to.”

The next biggest challenge, noted by four out of ten respondents, is creating a consistent data strategy. Travel brands need to make sure that they are co-ordinating properly and communicating data strategies across their organisations. This was reinforced when respondents were asked whether they have a clear understanding of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they should be measuring and working towards. Here, a surprisingly high percentage - 27.1% - said “no”.

Other major issues reported by the industry are data integration, deploying analytics in a timely manner and skills and training. For the former, 38.9% said that integrating from external sources is a challenge and 31.1% said that internal sources are an issue. For the latter, 31.7% of the panel felt that getting adequate training was a concern and 29.7% identified finding skilled people in the jobs market.

Click here to download the full report for free now. Or to learn the best data and revenue management strategies directly, why not attend EyeforTravel Europe on May 3-4?

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Travel Industry Struggling with Attribution

More than half of marketing professionals report that they have limited visibility of their customers as they move across devices and touchpoints

Attribution continues to be an issue for the travel and tourism industry as travellers hop across devices and sites during their journey according to EyeforTravel’s State of Data and Analytics in TravelReport 2017. Of the marketing professionals surveyed, 54.3% reporting that they could either track users to a limited degree (24.5%), just on their own domains (16%) or not at all (13.8%).

For those companies that report that they can track users in some detail, a quarter say they can track them across most devices and touchpoints. A further 20.7% report that they can track users across touchpoints but not across devices, illustrating that it is the cross-device behaviours prevalent in travel that are the main challenge.

“I think attribution will be one of the big focuses for travel brands over the medium-term,” said Alex Hadwick, Head of Research at EyeforTravel. “Our consumer-focused research shows that travellers are increasing their usage of mobile, especially in Asia-Pacific markets, but huge numbers of consumers switch devices during their journey with desktop still the main channel globally in terms of spending. With personalisation the primary stated goal of the industry, brands will need to be able to track users more effectively as they switch across sites but particularly across devices if they want to truly understand the journey.”

The survey also found that out of the more than 450 travel data professionals surveyed, just 30.9% are gathering geo-spatial and geographic data and 30.6% are looking at mobile app data to get insight into customers. This further supports the need for the industry to expand its efforts into multi-channel data gathering. Investment into systems and skills to do this should be forthcoming, as the report notes that three quarters believe that their department will receive budget increases in 2017 against 4% who expect a decrease.

Click here to download the full report for free now. Or to learn the best data and revenue management strategies directly, why not attend EyeforTravel Europe on May 3-4?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Facebook Has a Monopoly Amongst Travel Marketers

62% of travel marketers rate Facebook as the most effective social media network.  

Facebook is peerless amongst travel marketers according to a new industry-wide survey from EyeforTravel. The State of Data and Analytics inTravel Report 2017 found that 61.6% think Facebook is the best performing social media network, leaving Instagram – also a Facebook company – a distant second at 15.8% of respondents.

Twitter rounds out the top three at 10.3% of respondents and is followed by YouTube at 6.2% of respondents. No other social media network had a significant response rate.

“Facebook has numerous advantages above its rivals, but the largest of these is the depth of information it has on its users,” said Alex Hadwick, Head of Research at EyeforTravel. “Potentially Facebook has the majority of a Millennial or Generation Z’s life recorded in detail, from their interests and preferences, to the places they have travelled to. This gives them enormous power that has been multiplied by the clever acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. In my opinion these acquisitions also help to future-proof Facebook from potential downturns in usage of its original platform.”

The survey also found that 78% of travel marketers are using social media data in their marketing campaigns. This level of integration illustrates the importance social now plays in marketing efforts, a position that is likely to increase rather than diminish in the medium-term.  

Click here to download the full report for free now. Or to learn the best data and revenue management strategies directly, why not attend EyeforTravel Europe on May 3-4?

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Travel Industry Investment into Data and Analytics to Rise Substantially in 2017

Three quarters of travel professionals working with data believe that their department will receive budget increases in 2017 against 4% who expect a decrease

Travel is awash with data and companies are loosening their purse strings to get to the insight this provides, according to EyeforTravel’s new industry-wide State of Data and Analytics in Travel Report 2017. Amongst respondents, who came from all verticals in the industry, 74.5% report that they expect budget increases in 2017. Amongst the remained

For those looking forward to more cash to play with this year, budgets are often increasing by a substantial amount. More than half of the entire sample reports that they expect budgets to increase by 6% or more and 30% expect it to increase by 11% or more.

However, part of this may be because travel companies data efforts are coming from, in general, a relatively small base. Although 65% of the panel reports that they have a dedicated data, analysis or insight team, they are largely staffed by small teams. Two thirds of respondents report that their team is less than 10 employees strong and 51.5% have a team of five individuals or less.

“The travel and tourism industry has realised the importance of strong data analysis and is manoeuvring itself into a good position,” said Alex Hadwick, Head of Research for EyeforTravel. “We found that in terms of analytics, data deployment and attribution, travel is relatively advanced compared to other industries. These planned budgetary increases will help increase the depth of talent and acquire the tools needed to get maximum value out of the huge amount of data that already exists and will be generated in the future.”

The survey also found variation between the expectations of data professionals for this year when it comes to where they are based.  Respondents were most optimistic about budget increases in Asia-Pacific, followed by Europe and then finally North America.

This geographic divide was reinforced in how respondents view the coming year for the travel and tourism industry as a whole. In both Asia-Pacific and Europe 16.3% of respondents are neutral or negative about growth prospects for this year, compared to 23.3% of respondents from North America.

Hadwick believes that this is reflective of wider industry sentiment in the region: “With the WTTC warning of changing sentiment towards the US and reports for Q1 indicating lower flight bookings to the US, there appears to be a bigger story here that is reflected in our data.”

Click here to download the full report for free now. Or to learn the best data and revenue management strategies directly, why not attend EyeforTravel Europe on May 3-4?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

China and India smartphone leaders

There is a divergence in the way consumers look for and book travel between the rising economies of the East and the developed countries of the West. This is all being driven by mobile, as consumers outside the West have never associated the desktop or laptop as being their primary device to connect to the internet or conduct digital travel purchases. 

EyeforTravel, in conjunction with Jumpshot found that India was the leading country for mobile visits to travel sites among the five countries that were studied. There, two thirds of users visiting travel sites were doing so from mobile devices. EyeforTravel has also been studying Chinese consumers and found a very similar pattern amongst Chinese consumers, with 67% reporting that they principally use mobile devices to plan their trips and 50% use them to book accommodation.

You can download the white paper here and keep an eye out for our upcoming Chinese Travel Consumer Report on our report page.

For more insights like these, why not sign up to our newsletter? Or you can get the best opinions first hand by attending one of our events.

Alex Hadwick
Head of Research, EyeforTravel 

Sources: EyeforTravel; Jumpshot

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

India’s domestic market powers ahead

India overtook China last year to become the fastest growing major economy in the world and is set to continue this in 2017 according to forecasts. However, the GDP percentage growth pales in comparison to the exploding growth in domestic travel. IATA reported that in 2016 India was the leading market for domestic air travel growth, with Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKs) soaring by 23.3% according to IATA.

In more good news, 2017 is expected to continue the trend in Indian domestic travel. Journey numbers, occupancy and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) are all expected to grow in the country across the year, particularly for the latter, as hotel room construction has slowed recently according to Knight Frank.

It is also important to remember that the market is coming from a very low base. IATA’s figures note that India’s domestic air travel market had a market share of just 1.3%, compared to 8.7% for China. This means that even if the global economy performs badly, India’s travel growth should remain one of, if not the, world’s strongest in percentage terms. 

For more insights like these, why not sign up to our newsletter? Or you can get the best opinions first hand by attending one of our events.

Alex Hadwick
Head of Research, EyeforTravel 
Sources: IATA; Economic Times

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Company Selling Tens of Thousands of Rail Tickets Through Chatbots’s COO reveals to EyeforTravel how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving the company’s strategy and allowed them to create a Facebook messenger chatbot that has already issued more than 85,000 tickets

London, UK: Arnaud Masson, Chief Operating Officer of and keynote speaker at EyeforTravel Europe, is keen to point out that the company is at the forefront of innovations, with R&D teams spending more than 160,000 work-days on more than 80 different projects, including major AI efforts. A key result of this is V.Bot, a Facebook Messenger chatbot that provides real-time updates, customer service and even digital travel tickets to travellers.

In order to create smart customer experiences like V.Bot, Arnaud and his team have to deal with more than 90 TB of data per month and have invested more than €10m into new technologies. Alongside chatbots, this investment is also going into utilising voice recognition systems: “Our engineering teams have been working hard to develop the possible use of Amazon Echo and ‘Alexa’ to communicate with our own digital travel companion - Lea - to source the best train travel options, tickets and times for users - all through the use of their voice.”

However, Arnaud argues that deploying AI is about more than just offering a chatbot: “Customers are looking for more convenient options in organising their day-to-day lives, so when ‘smart’ technology is applied that can predict travel patterns and products, book it and deliver tickets instantly - like on our Facebook Messenger chatbot - it frees up our time to concentrate on other life enriching experiences.”

Arnaud stresses that a pretty website isn’t enough anymore to sell anymore and drive loyalty, as “travellers want a personal experience and information to hand at the press of a button or command of their voice. By constantly innovating what and how we offer, we are working to make that vision a reality.”

Another part of enacting this vision has been’s My Travel app, which allows customers to manage their journey from one place. Alongside “Access to e-tickets, it reacts in real-time to factors such as location and changes to travel further upstream,” says Arnaud. “It proactively offers tailored services based on this information, for example the ability to book a car to the station if you are running late, or offering activities on arrival at a destination, adapted to the traveller’s individual profile.”

The rail company chief adds that “The travel industry is no longer about manufacturing a simple transaction – it’s about nurturing a relationship with each customer to offer a lasting, enriching and valued connection and experience each time they travel.”

Having a customer-centric, chatbot-assisted platform has been a success story for, but it cannot engage in this complex work alone. Partnerships are key to improving their CRM efforts: “We work with Alcmeon to monitor our social media customer service, with Helpbox from Do You Dream Up to automatically respond to customer queries and with Usabilla to collect customer feedback on our website and areas that we specifically want to analyse.

“As an online ticket distributor selling passes and point-to-point tickets for rail travel around Europe, has to take a collaborative approach – indeed we work in partnership with 15 European rail operators and many more travel organisations across some 100 countries globally.” The company has even launched an accelerator programme designed to boost new start-ups, known as ACT574.

Arnaud also made a point to stress that the travel industry should be, and generally, is a naturally collaborative environment, regardless of sector or specialism: “Those businesses that realise that working in partnership with other businesses, and organisations, including even governments, achieve far more by working together than separate entities who attempt to go it alone.”

This interview comes in advance of the EyeforTravel Summit 2017 (May 3-4th, London) which Arnaud Masson will be speaking at on a keynote session. The event will host 350+ senior level executives and will be discussing the crucial commercial and digital and API-led partnerships that will make the industry thrive.

Speakers delivering sessions on partnerships and taking the stage throughout the summit include:

Glenn Fogel – CEO – Expedia 
Roland Sch├╝tz – CIO – Lufthansa 
Rod Cuthbert – CEO - Rome2rio
Brenda van Leeuwen – CEO -
Tero Valkiala – Head of Digital – Finnair 
Genevieve Materne - Director of Distribution Strategy – Starwood
Alex Saint – Co-founder and CEO – Secret Escapes
Jose Murta – Global Head of Hospitality – Trivago
Cameron Jones – CCO – SilverRail Technologies
Jamie Andrews – CEO - Loco2
Alessandra di Lorenzo - CCO - Partnerships and Advertising -
Dan Christian – CDO - The Travel Corporation
Susan Black – CCO - CIE Tours

To get more information on the EyeforTravel Summit 2017 including the agenda, speaker line up and attendees, follow this link: