THE PONTARELLI BLOG

Big Data and Travelers

chicago limo service, chicago limousineThere’s a lot of talk about Big Data and how companies both big and small can take advantage of massive databases and software to sift through it all to discover interesting patterns and other actionable data. The travel industry is no exception. With so much data being collected behind the scenes regarding passenger information, companies are eager to use this treasure trove of facts to improve their marketing and other business endeavors.

Many travelers are aware that the Transportation Security Administration keeps tabs on passengers, as does Google and Facebook. But some people do not realize that airlines deal with enormous amounts of data as well, noted a recent article at BoardingArea.

Airlines have the right to make money from passenger’s private information, such as by selling it to third party companies. This is spelled out in the airlines’ privacy policies. However, since passengers do not know exactly what kind of information is being gathered about them, how companies intend to use it or even which companies the airlines share it with, it’s reasonable to ask why such secrecy is required.

Information comes from the contact details you provide when making your booking arrangements, for example, as well as the historic record of the trips you’ve made over the years. Airlines use cookies to store tracking data on customers’ computers, further adding to the data being amassed. The airlines say that they will mine this data so they can improve the passenger experience and boost their customer service.

You can anticipate that even more personal information will be collected about you going forward, as airlines and airports start using more biometric data on passengers, such as iris scans, fingerprints and voice recognition tools. While you might find that you get improved service offerings, you may wonder whether giving up so much personal information is more harmful than helpful.

The team at Pontarelli thinks it’s important for customers to be aware of how data is being used about them, whether it is for marketing purposes or to help companies better serve their customer base. It’s also prudent to keep tabs on the information being gathered about them to make sure it’s used appropriately.

Posted on May 15 2015

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