Heavy Reading Research

Service Providers Have First-Class Opportunity in Travel

During the height of the economic downturn in 2009, a survey found that about 59 percent of enterprises decreased the amount of travel allowed in their budgets. In good economic times, companies are more willing to fork over money for airline, hotel and car expenses in order to promote personalized service and cement a positive public image. When cash tightens, however, travel is often cut in lieu of technology, such as audio and video conferencing.

But regardless of whether there’s an overall agreement about just how well the economy has recovered, the fact is that enterprises are once again spending money on travel. One recent survey shows that business travelers increased from 24 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 32 percent in the first quarter of 2011. While that's not a huge increase, it is certainly reason for travel providers to give serious consideration to analytics, which enables them to both attract business travelers and gain their loyalty.

These issues and others are discussed in the latest Heavy Reading IP Services Insider, "Travel Providers Get On Board With Insight From Analytics." This report examines how companies in the travel ecosystem are using analytics today, as well as expected trends during the next 24 months. It details questions that analytics solutions are helping travel providers answer, as well as drivers expected in the space during the next 24 months. It also explores opportunities that service providers have in the industry, and it includes a comparative analysis of available solutions, examining the geographic landscape of the market for service providers and challenges the industry presents.

Companies analyzed in this report include: Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE); Coremetrics, a subsidiary of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM); Experian Hitwise (FTS: EXPN); iPerceptions Inc. (TSX-V: IPE); SAS Institute Inc. ; Teradata (NYSE: TDC); Unica, a subsidiary of IBM Corp.; and Webtrends Inc.

During the coming months, analytics in the travel industry will continue to improve, as providers develop tools that encourage business users to access detailed data. For instance, in the past, the data-rich nature of the airline business has been rendered inaccessible to business users because of shortcuts in business intelligence (BI) environments and failures by IT departments to anticipate the varied nature of queries against this data.

The opportunity now exists for travel entities and service providers to partner so that business users can access the detailed data that analytics provides. Service providers already should be anticipating the changes coming from Web and mobile applications, with an eye toward how they can develop value-added services to travel providers and business travelers.

Strong focus should be placed on mobile applications that help travel providers offer better service to their valuable business-class customers. Furthermore, information garnered from analytics should be utilized to improve business processes within the confines of travel companies themselves, especially in terms of empowering employees to better understand circumstances and make decisions that attract and keep business travel customers.

If service providers focus and analytics providers will work together, the outcome will be a better understanding of the business traveler industry, how to attract and maintain those customers and how to ensure that enterprises are not so quick to cut travel budgets the next time the economy sours.

— Denise Culver, Research Analyst, Heavy Reading IP Services Insider

The report, Travel Providers Get On Board With Insight From Analytics, is available as part of an annual subscription (six issues) to Heavy Reading IP Services Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900. For more information, or to subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/entvoip.

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