This kind of data is of utmost importance to a youth brand like Contiki, part of The Travel Corporation's agglomeration of 30 international brands. Raj Dhawan, senior executive, technology at The Travel Corporation, explains that understanding and forecasting demand is critical to keeping Contiki's catalogue of offerings appealing and up-to-date.
"The one area that we look at regularly is search terms on our website - the cities and countries where people are searching," he explains. "That may result in us culling some trips and destinations or increasing our inventory on those destinations.
"There are areas and destinations that are hot in the market versus those that are not, and every year that changes a bit. Based on that, our product changes to some extent, with variations that could appeal to the audience that we have."
Building on this monitoring, the business is experimenting with a machine learning pilot to give these learnings a concrete and immediate use: Depending on patterns of searches, for example for a particular area or cost bracket, Contiki customers will see a website personalized for their type of customer.
"When people search for certain terms, the website is curated based on this," says Dhawan. "That's something we are piloting, and that uses machine learning and the search product on the website."
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