The travel and tourism industry is a major sector for the economies of many countries. It provides employment to thousands of people and is a vital source of foreign revenue. The travel and tourism market is a sensitive industry, susceptible to economic situations, law and order disturbances and global health calamities like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

On a general note, advancements in digital technology have only accelerated the growth of the industry. In order to tap into the digital market, tour operators and travel companies have launched dedicated travel and tourism services online. Driven on recommendations, preferences and customer needs, these companies compete heavily on those aspects in addition to requirements searched and wanted by customers. In order to acquire such customer data from the internet, these companies use a host of techniques, one of which is web scraping. Data scraping is an integral part of most industries and businesses that follow a data-driven culture

Data scraping benefits the travel and tourism industry in more than one way, more of these benefits which we will highlight as we continue further. But before that, let’s have a brief overview regarding what web scraping is, how it works and the types of data that can be scraped.    

What is Data Scraping?

Data scraping or also commonly referred to as web scraping is a technique used to describe the extraction of a specific kind or nature of data from a single or multiple websites. The data collected is then processed, analyzed and used for providing insights and recommendations. The technique can be performed manually, however the term generally refers to the automated process, performed by a tool or bot. In the automated context, a web scraping software directly accesses the WWW using the HTTP protocol or a browser. The web scraping process also involves the collected data to be stored in a structured format like CSV or excel. 

How Does it Work?

The process of web scraping works by first fetching the data from the website and then extracting it using an automated web scraping tool. Where fetching can be considered as the downloading of the content from the webpage. Once fetched, the extraction begins, which is then proceeded by parsing. The content may also be searched and reformatted and then copied into a spreadsheet to be used for a different purpose later on.

Types of Data that can be Scraped

Web scraping can be used to extract many forms of data, this is especially important when large-scale market research is concerned. Data that can be scraped off the internet include but is not limited to:

  • Real-estate listings. 
  • Email address. 
  • Product review scrapes.
  • Scraping to create other websites. 
  • Collecting trending data from social media websites.
  • Quantitative and qualitative data for research purposes. 
  • Specific task scraping / One time scraping. 
  • Scraping Amazon for specific categories of books.
  • Scraping reddit for particular keywords to acquire relevant info. 

5 Ways Data Scraping Benefits the Travel and Tourism Industry

Competitor Analysis 

The market is saturated with a range of tourism operators and travel companies both small and large. For businesses starting out in the industry or the existing ones waiting for their big break, it can be a difficult period. Knowing what your competitors are doing is a great way to get started and have that benchmark understanding. By extracting relevant competitor data, a business gains valuable insights on what the competition is doing, acquires understanding of their growth and customer attraction/marketing strategies. With competition at an all time high, better and timely decision making could mean the difference between winning and losing a customer. By having the right information, businesses can make informed decisions regarding their business that is tweaked to their business requirements.  

Price Adjustments 

Whether it’s an airline, a hotel, a restaurant, a taxi service or any of the on-demand services that come under the greater travel and tourism industry. Pricing is the most important factor, based on which business strategies are developed and frankly customer choices are based. Good and bad pricing could mean either positive revenue growth or even negative in some instances. By collecting the right pricing data across a range of competitors, a business can adjust their own pricing accordingly to remain competitive. Customers today are smart and shop based on the best value for money. By following the same philosophy, businesses increase their chances of having a customer approach them. Pricing can also be adjusted according to seasonal demand and even holiday and promotional purposes.       

Projective Trends

Data scraping is not just about specific types of data regarding a company that is collected and pooled together. It can also be used to collect information regarding a specific niche. For example, a list of contact information regarding capsule hotels is very specific information, whereas projective trends refer to information regarding capsule hotels in general around a country or globally. The industry can use this information to gain insights on where the market is heading and the growing trends in the travel and tourism industry. Data scraping benefits the companies operating under the industry to plan ahead for the upcoming developments and provide next generation products and services that drive sales.  

Sentiment Analysis

On the internet, the range and types of data available is enormous, accounting for both quantitative and qualitative types. However, when you consider the reality of the data scraping process, the most common form of data collected is quantitative. For the industry, numbers provide a quick glimpse of the present state of a service, product, etc. But what really misses out from that is reasoning and the emotion behind that numeric response. This is where sentiment analysis comes in, data scraping for opinions and feedback regarding a certain product, service, hotel or business could provide vital information to business owners  to use and improve their existing offering. Allowing businesses to gain understanding of a customer’s particular pain points and provide the option to personalize 

Create a Database

Data scraping involves collecting specific information and pooling it together in a structured form for later use as required by a company. The latter use being the primary purpose of data scraping varies from requirement to requirement. But unknown to many, data scraping can be used to just pool data together and create a database or a knowledge base of some sorts. Combine it with automated processing and you have what the industry calls ‘Self Updating Database’-SUD. Depending on the type of business operating this SUD, these can be used to monitor several critical fields related to the travel and tourism industry over a period of time for statistical purposes   

Wrapping Up

With new previously unexplored destinations opening up and a globally affording upper middle-class population coming into the mix. The number of global travelers across the world are increasing on a yearly basis. The industry is increasingly becoming more competitive, to the point where businesses are seeking new ways to know the trends in the travel and tourism industry to remain ahead. In order to achieve that, they are pursuing the latest techniques in gathering large amounts of data, one of which is making use of data scraping services. Data scraping benefits all sorts of companies operating under the travel and tourism industry. It provides a great opportunity for businesses to use data more effectively, in the form of insights and recommendations. Even though data scraping can be done in house it can always be outsourced to specialized web scraping companies for optimal results! 

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