Tourism as a whole has experienced steady growth ever since the 2009 economic crisis, and that trend will likely continue as travel sites like Kayak and Booking.com make it more convenient than ever.

While this presents plenty of opportunity for travel managers, it also means growing competition. If you want to remain competitive and offer a great customer experience to travelers, you’ll need to leverage key resources like data scraping platforms. Here’s what you need to know.

The Impact Data Scraping Has Had on the Travel Industry

The initial reaction to data scraping in the travel industry was largely one of fear and trepidation. A 2014 article went so far as to question if scraping was “the single biggest threat to the travel industry.” Big-name airlines and hotels were afraid they’d lose money as well as control over their brand image as scrapers accessed their data.

Fast forward to 2019, and the sentiment has changed dramatically. Now, for the most part, data scraping is viewed as an effective way for travel agencies to find the best deals for their customers.

Travel managers can look for flights, hotels, and more based on a client’s preferences, monitor the pricing and overall strategy of key competitors, and make necessary adjustments as market changes unfold.

As for airlines, hotels, and other tourism service providers, most now welcome data scraping because it helps them find new customers.

So the travel industry has done a complete 180 within the last five years in terms of how it views this technology. It’s become the new norm as a way to improve the customer experience while maximizing profits for travel agencies.

Tips for Using Data Scraping

One of the top uses for data scraping is to track and automate competitive price monitoring. There’s no lack of choice for modern travelers, and they’re free to use whichever vendor best fits their needs.

Utilizing data scraping technology will allow you to monitor your competitors’ pricing so that you can optimize your own. Choose the ideal price point to stay competitive and bring in more customers, while at the same time maximizing your profits.

Scrape customer behavior, reviews, feedback, patterns, and demands to better understand your customers. This puts you in a position to fine-tune your business practices and deliver a better service to customers, something that can pay dividends when you’re attempting to create a sustainable brand.

It’s also smart to move beyond conventional data scraping tools and use a more robust web data integration solution. This is a new approach to acquiring and managing web data that allows you to extract, prepare, and normalize data—so that it’s easily consumable through reports and visualizations.

The Benefits and Dangers of Data Scraping

Data scraping offers some immense benefits. It helps you carve out a bigger slice of the market share, optimize your pricing, gain market intelligence, and become more competitive. But you should also be aware of some concerns with using it.

For example, it comes with certain legal risks where you could potentially face litigation if you infringe upon a copyright or breach a website’s terms and conditions.

There was a recent case involving Ryanair Ltd. v PR Aviation that ruled a website can prohibit other businesses such as a travel agency from scraping data or collecting information.

You also need to ensure that you’re not accessing any restricted data. In some countries like Australia, for instance, it’s illegal to access restricted computer data if you lack the authority to do so.

This is basically the equivalent of computer hacking, which can come with stiff penalties including imprisonment. So you need to be diligent when it comes to staying on the right side of the law.

Final Remarks

Data scraping is used across many industries, and 22% of all website visitors are classified as scrapers.

This technology is especially applicable to the travel industry, where access to a comprehensive set of real-time data is essential for matching customers with the right product at the right time.

But like any other technology, you need to know how to use it correctly to avoid making mistakes that could land you in hot legal water. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.

Luke Fitzpatrick is an academic speaker at Sydney University. He enjoys writing about tech, productivity, lifestyle, and is a contributor to Forbes.