Blogs

Real-time weather data: Customers, conversions and efficiencies for travel leadership

Business and Technology Writer

The benefits of data analytics for travel industry leaders are not confined to understanding customer behavior over time—insights can also be gained in the moment. Real-time weather data provides marketing and operations teams within various arms of the travel industry with immediate, actionable insights.

On a daily basis, the ways that we can understand the weather is changing. The Internet of Things accounts for a large part of that transformation.

Take the Weather Company, for example. By aggregating four gigabytes of meteorological data per second, as CIO reports, from a spectrum of sensors including weather stations, aircraft, trains, boats, automobiles and digital health wearables, the organization can forecast granular, accurate and unprecedentedly localized weather details. That accounts for some 10 billion forecasts every day.

Travel industry leaders can incorporate that new, powerful, hyper-focused weather model into guest and passenger outreach. We know that conversions can increase as much as 54 percent, according to Eye for Travel, when travel companies identify the right time and place to make special, personalized offers.

Offering location-specific travel deals

https://kapost-files-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/direct/1452887956-30-4978/rain-blog.jpgIf you want a classic example of weather's impact on sales, start with the humble umbrella. If you're caught on a sidewalk in the rain without one, the price at the nearest shop certainly seems more agreeable than at any other moment. That is, you're not actually shopping for umbrellas—you're responding to weather that is affecting you in the moment.

In a similar way, as The Direct Marketing Association points out, when data shows that a run of glorious weather is arriving at a certain destination of an airline or travel company, and the data also shows that a correlating spell of cold, wet days is underway at a point of departure, the moment is ripe for a travel company to speak to a potential traveler in that chilly and damp location. They're likely to be in a reactive consumer mindset.

In other words, it's likely nobody craves a sunny beach escape like the person who's just stepped in a slushy puddle on the way to work. Real-time data analytics shows where weather and sentiment can align. In that way, analytics open the vistas for marketing leaders to respond to the climate in a given area, at a given time, and drive conversions with offers that make sense.

Forewarning customers

Helping guests and passengers deal with the disruptive contingencies that climate can introduce to travel plans can promote customer loyalty. Alerting the beach-bound traveler to a string of incoming storms or alerting a slopes-hungry skier that snowfall is likely to close airport runway are examples that, as Insights on Business points out, allow customers to make alternate arrangements before they're stuck with a weather-related disappointment.

It may never be the ideal circumstance for a consumer to change travel plans at the last minute, but when brands empower their passengers and guests with information and potential alternatives, they are leveraging data to create trust. Repeat business is based on trust, which evolves from a responsive relationship that brands can use real-time data to provide.

Seeking efficiencies and alignments

Real-time weather data changes the game not only for marketers and travelers but also for the operations-level leadership that keep planes and properties running according to schedule.

As a storm develops or poor conditions improve, data analysts can respond by altering schedules to avoid route-crippling trouble and expensive delays. They can also lean in to favorable weather developments that speed trips, prompt on-site events for hoteliers and drive overall cost savings, revenue and customer satisfaction.

With a world rich in sensor technology, data analytics is amplifying travel marketing strategies. One nexus of this evolution is real-time data analytics, which puts the power of responsive outreach into the hands of travel industry leaders. The result is a more loyal passenger and guest — and that result drives conversions and cost savings across the travel industry.

Learn more about IBM solutions for Travel & Transportation.