- Harshit Agrawal
Web Scraping for Tourism: Impact of Data Scraping on Travel Industry
Updated: Feb 12, 2021
Travel and Tourism have always been an important industry in the service sector. It not only contributes actively to cash incomes and the growth of the economy but also helps in employment creation and foreign relations. But at the end of the day, it belongs to the service sector, and that means competition is bound to happen.
The tourism services were originally needed only to assist the tourists with planning and reserving elements of their trip. But with the growth in technology and introduction of online ticketing and booking, the visitors are much more aware of the place they are visiting and prefer to interact directly with the service supplier, diminishing the need for these agencies.
Thus, to stay in the market, travel services need to innovate. Recently, one has witnessed a dramatic change in how booking is done, which calls for a change in the services provided by travel agencies. Agencies now needed to figure out the gap in this new system of direct internet bookings, thus inventing a new way to assist an individual to slam their competition.
The rise of Data Scraping in Travel Industry
With the rise of the internet, new needs were bound to happen. Although the tourist could now directly interact with the service provider, there was a lot of work in contacting each individual service provider and find the most appropriate based on cost, location etc. and plan the trip on one’s own.
Travel agencies capitalized on this need of a user to find the best and most cost-effective travel, accommodation, food and entertainment in a fast and less tedious manner. At the core, they just needed to get the individual information from each service provider, compile them together and display them to the user according to his needs. And that worked, for a while, when the hotels and travel options were less in number and discounts and offers were not in the trend. But as the time change, doing this task manually, by hiring people to maintain this database and index became almost impossible.
Infographic Source: funsherpa
This marked the introduction of data scraping in the travel industry. Agencies could now fetch the data from the service providers’ site automatically and stay up-to-date with the prices and offers with minimal efforts and cost.
But this was also short-lived. In time, the number of agencies increased exponentially, each with their own discounts, offers, travel packages, making the market more competitive than ever before. Just retrieving cost data from services was not going to cut it anymore. Agencies needed to keep track of their competitions too and predict the market needs and prepare accordingly, making data more significant to their business.
What is the role of Data Scraping?
Data scraping and Information Retrieval tools provide accurate and relevant data efficiently, cutting down costs and efforts at the same time. Analysis of the data being retrieved helps the agency understand what kinds of deals and packages their competition is providing to the market and what costs and locations the market prefers and modify their business plans accordingly.
Now, they could easily keep track of travelers preferences and feedbacks, analyze the cost of operation of their competitors and inspect what they do better and predict the forthcoming changes to the market and prepare for them in advance like never before. The availability of this data and the ability to act it in time could certainly be the difference that propels one ahead of its competition.
The web scraping process consists of parsing the target sites and removing the programming elements to get the text data. Further, the data needs to be cleansed of unnecessary information and store the relevant data like costs, timings, location, photos etc. in a tabular format so that
it can be synced with the database. This is repeated periodically to keep the database up-to-date.
The scraper itself needs to be updated from time to time to deal with the changes that may happen at the target site.
Apart from this, the scraper can also be used to get data from the competitor’s website. This data could then be structured into a comparative format with one’s own data using which, it could easily be analyzed what the competitor is doing in the market, for better and for worse, like their package prices, offers they offer etc. and compare them with the deals it offers and keep themselves aligned with market prices and desires accordingly.
All this data taken and processed together in more complex ways can yield the market preferences like hotels of which area of the city are booked most, the cost range preferred most, the places visited most and more to keep track of what the market demands and how much it is willing to pay for it. Deals with maximum margins can be structured using this information to maximize the profits.
Is it legal?
Witnessing the impact of web scraping for tourism, the tourism service providers like airlines, for example, don’t mind being scraped on as being listed on the travel sites would eventually increase their customers. Due to this, web data scraping is completely harmless to one’s own business, which makes utilizing it even more significant to the growth and flourish of the agency.
It’s not a secret that in the service sector, the one with better market strategy, execution and reach prevails. And with today’s dependency on the internet and technology, data has become a major ammunition for all kinds of services across different sectors. There are agencies like Trivago, Goibibo, Travelocity, already utilizing the web scraping process to the fullest in their business models.
For travel agencies, a database of buses, restaurants, attractions etc. along with timings, costs, feedback, monthly visits etc. is a major desire, along with a need to keep track of others in the same sector. Information Retrieval methods help them achieve this and analyze the collected data to give the best and most accurate results in the present day. Data has become an integral part of business models in today’s world, with every action, every move being backed by accurate data and predictions based off of it. It was only fair that travel agencies utilized this data-driven approach in their model and achieve their goals faster and easier.
Datahut offers affordable and effective web scraping data services for the Travel and Tourism sector and gets a well-structured data feed from any website through our cloud-based data as a service platform. Wish to know more about how you too can use web scraping to utilize the power of data for your Tourism agency? Contact Datahut, your web scraping experts.