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Big data to help airlines understand passengers better

Rachel Wheeler

October 15, 2012

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Marketers are eager to take advantage of big data, which they anticipate will allow them to better understand - and ultimately, anticipate - customers' needs and desires. When they are able to harness the vast amount of unstructured data being generated every day online and at point-of-sale terminals, companies can make sure their marketing dollars are spent wisely and will yield a strong return on their investments.

Therefore, it comes as a surprise that airlines have not tapped into this resource, according to The Wall Street Journal. Since the majority of customers now use online booking sites to make their travel plans, airlines have been missing out on valuable data generated by every transaction. However, products, tools and experts are now being developed to help companies across a wide range of industries turn that content in valuable insight by upholding data quality and organizing unstructured information.

"Even though online travel was one of the first products to be sold online, it is probably the least sophisticated e-commerce vertical today - particularly airlines," Dave O'Flanagan, CEO of tech startup Boxever, told Venture Beat. "Airlines are generating extremely valuable data about how their customers like to travel, but incredibly, many airlines delete purchase records once the passenger has flown."ADNFCR-16001315-ID-800885072-ADNFCR

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