How Travel Aggregators Calculate Prices
Source – Pixabay
The travel industry is always busy as people travel to faraway places for business or for that much-needed exotic holiday. There are many opportunities in the travel aggregator business sector if you can access real-time data and grab the attention of travelers.
Travel aggregator sites provide travel price offers and travel availability information to customers by weighting data from different sources. Travel aggregator sites combine all the collected data and place it in one convenient and easily accessible location for users to browse. Travelers depend on these websites to find the best travel prices and vacation deals.
How travel aggregator sites work
These websites collect data from various related web pages scattered across the internet. They perform real-time data scraping on websites such as hotels, airlines, and travel agencies. This data brings up actionable insights on related travel activities such as upcoming forecasts or plane tickets.
Travel aggregator sites work in the same way that content aggregators do. Content aggregators scrape data on a subject or topic from different online sources and then organize it on one website. If you, therefore, need an organized and in-depth library of information on a particular subject, you will find content aggregators very useful.
With them, you do not have to surf the internet accessing different websites for information. Like content aggregator sites, travel aggregator sites have the best travel information online and therefore have high traffic, which benefits the website aggregators and the source of the content.
Web scraping is the fuel that runs travel aggregator sites. Web crawlers and scrapers run through designated websites extracting useful information and then download them to a database. The data collected in an unstructured format is then processed and organized into an easy to digest and displayed on the website.
These scrapers are designed to function automatically so that they can scrape and present fresh real-time data. The website with the most frequent data gets the most visitors and becomes the first destination for any person embarking on a journey.
Dynamic pricing and its effects on the travel industry
These websites are huge stress relievers for people who are continuously on the go. Unfortunately, like many other websites that perform dynamic pricing, some travel aggregators have also been accused of nefarious pricing activities.
Airline and hotels have for years been accused of price manipulation practices based on the user’s browsing history. An investigative study done by the Wall Street Journal on travel aggregator website Orbitz shows that indeed these websites perform price discrimination. They have an augmented ticketing structure, which means that not all travelers view the same prices when purchasing tickets online.
Orbitz, for instance, would show higher ticket prices for hotel accommodation for users that log into their website using a Mac. The users who accessed the Orbitz website from a Windows PC would access cheaper deals.
Mac users would also view premium rooms on display which Windows PC users would view the cheapest rooms first. After the discovery, Orbitz removed this pricing and targeting feature from their website.
The Wall Street Journal study shows that browsing history and cookies placed on a browser can make you subject to price discrimination practices. If you want to travel fair and get the best deals on travel aggregators sites, there are a few measures that you can take to deter any price discrimination mechanisms.
How to prevent price discrimination
Track your browser cookies
The presence of cookies on your browser is the reason why online ads seem to display the exact item that you browsed earlier on another website.
Site owners place cookies on browsers for identity purposes and so that they can easily track your preferences and online behaviors. Third-party cookies also enhance the browsing experience and are very useful for website functions.
Currently, privacy laws are tightening the noose around third party cookies. In the time being monitor your cookies or use private browsing modes when accessing these websites. The incognito mode hinders cookies from tracking your activity.
Use proxy servers
Proxy servers are not only used in web scraping, but they can also make your browsing experience anonymous. To travel fair, use proxy servers to access these websites so that you are not a victim of price discrimination practices.
Big Data is central to the travel aggregator site industry. IP addresses and geolocations have become key in the customization of offers from service providers. A travel aggregator site can use web scraping with the aid of proxy servers to access large amounts of real-time data for their website.
The traveler, on the other hand, can use proxies for private browsing and to prevent price discrimination.