May 26, 2012

How to monetize from search data in Online travel ?

Every time you go to a travel agent to book a ticket on a flight, there are 2 broad kinds of transactions which are generated.
- Search request and response transactions 
- Booking transactions

While most travel organizations have mined their booking transactions data, not many insights have been juiced out of the search patterns for air booking transactions.
For example ,  If you are a price sensitive tourist looking for the cheapest tickets between Boston and Madrid in Nov on Economy class on a Friday evening. Or you could be a value conscious business traveler seeking Economy or Business class tickets at the last minute to ensure that you are on time for a crucial business meeting in New York. 
All the search requests and responses are captured in search log files and flushed out at regular intervals. These search logs which were traditionally seen as occupying a lot of disk space is suddenly viewed as a gold mine of interesting information. For example some interesting 
- Which are the heavily searched destinations from Bangalore on weekends / Holidays where an say Singapore airline has no service?
o An airline could use this information to expand its fleet of services to destinations which it currently does not serve and increase its share of market
Another scenario consists of segmenting customers based on price conscious search versus value conscious search behavior. Business users are typically convenience shoppers (correct timing and service excellence is important) whereas holiday shoppers typically are price conscious. (Getting the lowest price to Colombo is more important than catching the flight at a convenient time). A hadoop cluster consisting of about 6 nodes can be setup to ingest the search data and answer business questions which were previously unanswered

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