The travel industry is undergoing rapid evolution, and that evolution can cause the marketplace to appear chaotic from many angles. But in today's travel industry when younger travelers’ first impulses are often to forego travel agents altogether, savvy agencies can take advantage of the chaos and confusion by providing an alternative: order.
With a reasonably optimized travel booking engine, it is possible to present a less disorderly view of things, whether it’s to customers using an online search, corporate clients, or agents themselves. If you’ve aggregated content from a large number of travel suppliers, you’ve taken great strides in this direction already. Without an updated static element database for your platform, however, you may not be getting the most out of your system.
Let’s envision a hypothetical agency attempting to enrich its offerings by creating a portfolio from a wide array of suppliers. Our agency will quickly find that different suppliers will often do things differently. Static elements like country and hotel names may be inconsistent from one supplier to another even when they are referring to the same place. This has the potential to cause a data reliability problem within an aggregation system. Content related to a given hotel may be spread out among several potentially hard-to-find locations. Different hotel features may not be grouped together properly, just as all the hotels in one country may be separated by inconsistencies in the spelling of the country’s name.
The result of these static element inconsistencies can be significant. Agents and website users alike trying to access the most relevant content can suddenly be faced with hard-to-parse content, mismatched information, and duplicate listings. These inefficiencies can lead to a number of undesirable outcomes. For instance:
Less reliable search results containing less accurate information.
A slower search process and therefore a less effective route to booking.
An uptick in redundant traffic made necessary by decreased search quality, resulting in further slowdowns
Under these circumstances, our hypothetical travel agency’s promise to provide order from chaos becomes much harder to keep. Beyond that, the disorder can have an effect on back office processes. Order and strong organizational systems can help to drive growth and bolster productivity—two benefits that our agency won’t enjoy if its static elements are not properly tracked.
If not simple per se, the steps an agency can take to avoid this pitfall should be clear. To prevent redundant listings and inefficiencies within a travel booking engine, here are three steps that can be taken:
Match redundant elements in one’s database in order to weed out duplicate listings on a systematic basis. Without duplicate listings bogging down search results and search time, agencies will see faster, more efficient searches. Back office processes can be made more efficient and therefore more cost effective.
Utilize a database process that assigns unique identifiers (derived from addresses, geocodes, and other uniting factors) to countries, hotels, and hotel details—identifiers that can be paired with the disparate naming conventions and spellings aggregated for different suppliers. This stands to greatly improve the quality of content and search results, adding considerable value for back office users and end-users alike.
Try implementing a matching algorithm in order to help create a database in which all content associated with the same hotel, hotel detail, or country resides in the same easily-accessible location. By partially automating the work of cleaning up a static elements database, agencies can add further value through time-saving processes. More than that, automated processes can help to ensure that an agency’s database stays organized. This ensures that the database continues to offer its maximum possible value.
Once one’s travel booking engine is optimized for grouping together static elements referring to the same components, it is crucial to ensure that the database remains accurate and free of redundancies. With this done, agencies can expect an immediate increase in content quality. Properly updated static element databases will finally eliminate the confusion that comes from relying on a large number of different suppliers. This can pave the way for higher quality, more accurate search results and the boost in efficiency that they can provide.
Time is money, and the money agencies can save from improved search quality (to say nothing of improved response time) can hardly be overstated. Improved order, in this case, comes with improved productivity and growth potential. The value one gets from various suppliers will be heightened, while B2B and B2C operations alike stand to benefit from this new added value. In this way, agencies can rise above the chaos of an ever-evolving industry to provide (and utilize) a valuable sense of order.