How Data Visualization Continues to Evolve the Travel Industry

Post by Fox Chief Information Officer, Sam Hilgendorf

You’re probably aware that the data available to you continues to grow, and additional sources for that data seemingly get added daily. In your role, you are trying to use all this data to best manage travel budget and spend, ensure compliance to policy, leverage your preferred partners all on top of trying to keep your travelers safe and satisfied.

As the volume of this data continues to grow, it gets harder every day to understand the trends, identify opportunities for savings, or determine what decisions you are making are leading to change.

This is where data visualization and business intelligence platforms, such as Fox World Travel’s Cognition, provide a solution to the problem of too much data to effectively comprehend.

A Little Bit About Data Visualization

Data visualization is the ability to take data and information and be able to display it in a graphical illustration. Using visual elements such as graphs, charts, maps, these elements provide a way to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data.  Studies have shown that we can assimilate information through pictures much quicker than text. There’s a reason for the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

The concept of data visualization isn’t new as we’ve been putting pie carts and Venn diagrams on PowerPoint slides for years to help convey a message. The real excitement comes from now being able to apply these techniques to the exponential growth in data that we’ve experienced this decade. Where previously manual tools, like Excel, were good enough to build visualizations around a few thousand rows of data across a couple of tables, now we are dealing with millions of rows of data across hundreds of different data sets.

The Data Visualization Tools of Today

The beauty of current data visualization and business intelligence platforms, like Cognition, is that they are designed to scale to a limitless volume of data, and in fact, they become more and more valuable as your data grows. With these platforms, you now can take what previously seemed unrelatable and identify new opportunities to improve your travel program.

Take for example traveler sentiment and connecting it to specific city pairs or against your airline breakdowns. By creating a visual around these, you may find a trend in decreasing traveler sentiment in a certain city pair, leading you to discover that a specific hotel property is underperforming. Or, that with a certain airline, your travelers are better satisfied with service.

Lastly, data visualization platforms are designed to work with your data in real-time. As new transactions are created and added to the data sets, the visualizations that have been created are immediately updated, presenting you with a view of what is currently happening.  Take for example an airline strike taking place in a specific airport, having real-time data to immediately understand which travelers have planned travel in that location, allows for quicker and better decision making to address the situation.

One thing is for certain and that is that data visualization is on the rise. While that may seem intimidating, leaning into this trend by partnering with a technology-focused travel management company can help you reach your company’s objectives. Using these new data sources, most of which were not available just a few years ago, can change how you think and make decisions for the better.

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