Skift Take

In today’s increasingly mobile-first world, leveraging timely flight and schedule information and solutions gives travel technology providers an edge over competitors and creates long-lasting relationships with customers.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

When travel technology providers miss out on opportunities to leverage timely flight data, they leave money on the table and put key consumer relationships at risk. Put simply, they open a door for competitors to stake a data-driven claim to their business.

Travelers want data on their side. For example, according to recent research cited in OAG’s Travel Tech Innovation Report: Evaluating Travelers’ Appetite for Adoption, 60 percent of travelers said they would welcome artificial intelligence solutions that help predict flight cancellations and delays on the day-of-travel.

In the age of the digital consumer, every chance for providers to ingest, analyze, and offer options based on timely flight data empowers better outcomes for all. The web and in-app tools travelers use become more valuable. Organizations evolve from reactive players into proactive travel partners. And tech innovators can create smarter and more valuable services.

In the real cases that follow, leading tech companies are doing just this — using flight schedule data and other information-based solutions to improve travel experiences with analytics-driven insights, increasing the value of every trip for the clients and consumers they serve. Here, we look at four benefits of premium travel data and analytics.

1. Flight Data Empowers In-the-Moment Decisions

Consider how data drives new opportunities to make better travel experiences happen. As it stands, stressed-out travelers and providers face a complex landscape of ever-shifting schedules: On average, there are 100,000 flight schedule changes per day –– that’s three million or more per month. Predictive analytics help lessen the pain of these itinerary changes, offering more information sooner and giving all parties more ways to plan and react.

  • For example, a traveler may be deciding between two flights from two different airlines –– one costs $100 less, but diverges 10 minutes from the consumer’s ideal schedule. Online travel agencies (OTAs) and ticketing providers can leverage data analytics to tell that customer that the slightly more expensive flight is on time 88 percent of the time, while the other flight is only on schedule 60 percent of the time. From a business traveler’s perspective, the more effective itinerary, in this case, may be the more expensive flight. That’s the kind of data that prompts a booking and increases loyalty and repeat business. Outside of OTAs, many other providers are actively capitalizing on this travel effectiveness trend as well. One great example is Freebird, a mobile tool that makes it easy for business travelers to proactively and instantly rebook flights in the event of a delay or cancellation.
  • Similarly, a change of aircraft a week or two before departure can mean a change of seats on the plane, a lack of Wi-Fi access, or an adjusted departure or arrival time — three issues that could disrupt plans and damage the customer experience. Timely data empowers providers to alert travelers to these scenarios, allowing them to make real-time decisions about whether they want to adjust the flight they take.

2. Earning Traveler Loyalty (and Spend) with Real-Time Comparison Data

A best-in-class flight comparison website depends on timely schedule feeds that can capture every new detail of what’s available, seat by seat, every day. Updating data monthly, or even weekly, is simply too slow –– and in the travel industry, “slow” means missing important changes.

Missed changes or incomplete options influence travelers’ booking decisions. Conversely, timely updates power the choices, connections, and solutions that customers demand. A commitment to daily, even hourly, update frequencies must be the goal. Otherwise, providers risk losing customers to competitors that do offer more timely updates.

The demand for real-time flight information plays out in other areas as well. For example, Lumo, a service that provides real-time predictions on flight delays, continues to grow in popularity. The service leverages predictive analytics to analyze delay patterns, identify flight options, and help travelers make smarter booking decisions. Lumo represents one example of how technology providers can capitalize on travelers’ appetite for timely information and proactive travel decisions.

3. Seamless Trips Drive Future Spend

In a world where connection times change daily, getting travelers from one flight to the next is consistently one of the trickiest scenarios that travel providers face.

It’s also an opportunity to delight travelers. For example, while 45 minutes may be just enough time to make a connecting flight through Boston Logan, day-of-travel experiences rarely go exactly as planned. What if the traveler knew during the search and booking process that their first flight was typically 30 minutes late, on average, and their second flight typically boarded 5 minutes early? That squeezes the connection time from 45 minutes to 10 minutes — knowing that information might prompt a different decision. This is the kind of intelligence that adds value and drives loyalty.

Another example: If OTA A can leverage data and analytics to provide a perfect connection experience, and OTA B can’t — because it didn’t have timely information from the various airlines it aggregates flights for — it’s easy to see which business will capture travelers’ future spend. Ensuring the validity of this information as it changes across a given trip segment is how data helps OTAs and metasearch engines win a competitive edge.

4. Increasing Market Share and Growth with Air Travel Insights

Similar to how airlines invest heavily to accurately forecast traffic and demand changes, technology providers have a similar opportunity to leverage air travel insights to increase market share, add value, and grow their businesses.

For example, ride sharing apps can equip drivers with real-time flight information — ensuring there’s enough drivers, and the right pricing, to meet demand at the airport during high-congestion periods. Another example is the homesharing market, where rental platforms can help their hosts appropriately prepare and price for high-demand weekends or events. Similar benefits play out for service providers and startups that help airlines, airports, and transportation companies appropriately staff and serve passengers and facilities.

Regardless of the specific opportunity, staying proactive within markets over time takes timely data, every day of the year. The right partnerships, solutions, and analytics can provide the necessary insights to validate strategic opportunities against accurate schedule histories, emerging trends, and changing forecasts. The bottom line: Data helps travel providers grow.

From Startups to Industry Giants: Innovative Data Partnerships Power Success

Whatever a provider’s size, data represents a universal starting point for the travel technology industry. Even for startups, for whom the imagination is the only limit, starting without timely flight and schedule data, or without an experienced partner to help guide effective data integration, means even the most innovative ideas will struggle to get off the ground. As it goes for the biggest players, so it goes for the nimblest new player.

To succeed in the modern travel-tech landscape, providers must turn to best-in-class solutions and partnerships –– the kind that are built with innovative data experts who ensure real-time responsiveness. Premium data and analytics represent the future of keeping more money on the table for the organizations that serve travelers today. It’s what travel companies must demand, and it’s what the best flight data partnership empowers.

To learn more about how travel technology providers can leverage data solutions, grow their businesses with timely flight information and partnerships, develop innovative solutions, and delight customers, please click here.

This content was created collaboratively by OAG and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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Tags: artificial intelligence, data, flights, mobile, oag

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