When it comes to big data analytics the travel industry was one of the earliest adopters and has continued to be on the frontline of new innovations. From air traffic controllers to hotel managers and everyone in between, there isn't a single member of the travel industry whose job isn't directly affected by big data.

In the past, data analysis in the travel industry was used as a follow-up tool, a method of analyzing process efficiency to identify small changes that could save time. Thanks to advances in computing technology and the algorithms we use to interact with big data, we're now seeing a switch to predictive analysis. Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, then fixing it, businesses are now working on correcting inefficiencies before they occur and predicting changes in customer needs instead of reacting to them.

To gain a better insight into what those changes mean for consumers, here are three ways big data is already impacting the travel industry: 

Optimized Pricing

The list of factors people weigh when making travel decisions always feature cost near the top. Simply put, most travelers will choose whichever option is cheaper when comparing two similar rooms, flights, etc.

Businesses know that, and they've been using big data analytics for years to identify the maximum price they can charge at any given time and in different sales venues while still remaining competitive. The change we've seen in recent years is consumers starting to use big data to their advantage.   

A rise in companies that are essentially just travel data as a service has made it easier than ever before for travelers to sift through the mess of prices available online and find the best option. Take Triavago for example, you've probably seen one of their commercials recently. All Triavago does is analyze a large pool of hotel data and present it in a way that's easy for consumers to navigate. It's really not that complicated, but, it's completely revolutionizing the way all aspects of travel from transport to lodging are priced.   

Predictive Personalization

This change is most prevalent in the hospitality sector. Hotel's used to operate by waiting for a customer to voice their needs, then meeting them as quickly as possible. It was an efficient model that worked very well for decades.

However, recently as the hospitality sector gets more comfortable interacting with big data, we're seeing a switch to pre-emptive personalization. From management to the frontline staff, people in the hotel industry are analyzing years of customer data to tailor their service to new client desires, before they're even voiced.

According to data analytics expert, Goran Dragosavac, "The competitive advantage in today's hotel industry is driven more by the ability to anticipate and proactively meet the needs of customers; an ability that can only be exercised through data analytics."

Improved Safety Measures

If you've ever watched Air Crash Investigation(or Mayday depending on where you are), you know that most of an air accident investigator's time is spent pouring over big data. The aviation industry isn't the only one using big data to keep travelers safe though.

From planes to trains, busses and even your Uber, transportation providers in all sectors are using data analytics to reduce risk and improve their safety measures. It's one of those everyday things people rarely think of, but big data is quite literally saving lives.