According to IBM’s report on Cloud for Travel, cloud computing offers a path for sustainable, efficient and flexible growth for the travel industry. But how the travel industry actually applies these benefits to everyday business continues to evolve. Travelers already use the cloud to research and book the best possible fares. However, travel businesses can do more than use the cloud as a forward-facing tool to attract customers. Here are four ways the travel industry benefits from the cloud and how it’s used in today’s marketplace.
Secures Customer Data
According to Reuters, a data breach at 20 hotels last year operated by HEI Hotels & Resorts (e.g., Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt and Intercontinental) may have divulged credit card information for tens of thousands of consumers. The breach was a result of computer malware affecting various hotels and hospitality areas.
Malware can affect any business, but there are safeguards that can help keep data safe. For example, some malware comes in the form of ransomware, where hackers take control of devices and demand payment to release data and personal information. However, when travel businesses use secure cloud backup services, they can simply wipe the device and restore their files quickly.
However, far too many businesses fail to test their backups, which are prone to failure. Using a service like Mozy offers automatic, set-it-and-forget-it online backup that can quickly be restored during an emergency or data breach. The company’s cloud-based services also offer military grade encryption to keep sensitive client data safe.
Offers Quick Flexibility
Travelers already use apps and websites to find the best deals in order to plan their vacation destinations. Travel businesses can follow their lead by relying on the cloud to grow their infrastructure as needed. For example, during busy seasons, travel suppliers can add on extra cloud-based servers as needed and scale down during slower periods. This helps lower overhead and allows a company to run more efficiently.
Creates Cutting-Edge Competition
Risking downtime in a cutthroat market like travel can sink your business. But moving your servers to the cloud can put your business in the hands of experts working to keep your online presence up around the clock. They can also help monitor for malware and move your data to a secure server while working on IT issues.
The cloud can also help attract more customers looking for information. Instead of loading them up with brochures and magazines with your destination, offer them cloud-based brochures and landing pages easily customized to their exact criteria and itinerary.
Provides ‘Big Data’ Analysis
One of the benefits of cloud computing is the ability to harness detailed data to inform your marketing efforts. But big business continues to struggle with how to actually digest and apply the data. The travel industry is no exception. Skift reported on IBM Watson’s place in the travel industry, and the cloud computer’s ability to grow smarter on its own while analyzing more data.
The hotel industry is using a Watson-enabled robot, named Connie, that works with Hilton employees to assist with personalized guest experiences. Connie uses cloud-based Watson apps, including Natural Language Classifier, to help with guest needs and can also learn and improve its recommendations by analyzing interactions and data with customers.