5 Common Web Scraping Applications in the Travel Industry 2024
Web scraping is used to aggregate travel, hotel, and airline data from multiple web sources using a web scraping tool or web scraping API. Scraped travel data enables businesses to monitor their competitors, optimize their pricing strategy, discover trending keywords in a specific topic, and personalize their customers’ journeys. Scraping travel data automates and improves the efficiency of many tasks in the travel and hospitality industries. However, companies face challenges in achieving desired business outcomes due to a lack of knowledge about how to benefit from scraped travel data.
This article discusses how a web scraper extracts travel and tourism data from websites and the 5 common applications/use cases of web scraping in the travel industry.
1. Scraping hotel reviews & pricing
Assume you want to make a hotel reservation, and if you do not have a favorite hotel, you will search for hotels that are most suitable for you using an online travel agency such as tripadvisor, Booking.com, etc.
After you enter the necessary information, such as check-in/out dates, the website will display the most popular hotels that match your preferences. The algorithms used by travel companies generally rank hotels based on user preferences, popularity, satisfaction, etc. It is critical to have a high number of positive reviews to be ranked higher. Web scraping helps hospitality companies:
- Compare prices of hotel competitors to adjust their prices accordingly: Pricing strategy is influenced by strong competition, high taxes, unfavorable economic conditions, and the quality of products and services. If you want to adjust your prices based on your competitors’ prices. You need to collect publicly available information about your competitor’s prices. Web scraping bot enables companies to get room prices from different hotel pages.
- Turn customer reviews into insight: You can scrape your company’s and competitors’ customer reviews from websites and web pages. Scraped web data allows companies to analyze sentiment in customers’ reviews ( see Figure 1). You can get insights about:
- Your customers’ preferences and expectations.
- Your pain points that need to be improved.
- How you enhance your value proposition.
- What/how your competitors do right.
Figure 1: Customers’ descriptive words for a specific product
How to collect hotel review & price data
Web scraping tools enable companies to collect publicly available hotel and tourism data, including hotel listings, prices, ratings, reviews, pictures, addresses, etc. A web scraping bot follows the steps below to collect public web data.
- Identify your competitors and collect URLs which you want to scrape data from.
- Enter the URL of the hotel into the search box of your web scraping tool.
- Click the run/start button to allow the scraper to collect data from the URLs.
- Download the scraped data in the desired format when the scraping bot has finished scraping.
Apify provides a Tripadvisor API designed for extracting information about hotels and restaurants, allowing users to gather a range of data points such as prices, contact information, and ratings. The acquired data can be made available in several formats, including Excel, JSON, CSV, among others.
2. Extracting dynamic real-time travel data
Web scraping bots help travel agencies in obtaining real-time data from multiple web sources or specific web pages. Product price and stock information are examples of data that are constantly changing.
Assume you want to track and observe hotel room prices in a specific area for a month. In that case, your dynamic data is “room price,” which is constantly changing. A web scraping bot will extract room pricing data on the first of the month. When the price of rooms changes on the website from which you extract data, your scraper also updates the price data. Thus, you will receive the most recent price data.
The web scraper will make numerous connection requests to the website to update the price. If you make a connection request with the same IP address, the website will identify your web scraper and block it to prevent data scraping. You can use a proxy server to scrape web data to avoid being detected and blocked by the website.
Check out our in-depth guide to proxy server types to decide which proxy server is best for you.
A quick tip: Residential and Internet Service Provider (ISP) proxy servers are excellent choices for large-scale web scraping projects. Because you must make multiple requests, IP anonymity and privacy are critical to avoid being identified as a scraping bot. If, on the other hand, your scraping project must be completed as soon as possible. Datacenter proxies are the best option for completing tasks quickly.
Bright Data’s Data Collector extracts publicly available data from various websites for travel and hospitality companies. It aggregates hotel, travel and airline data from different data sources, such as hotel listings, reviews, ticket prices, location data, customer data, social media trends, room and flight ticket availability (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: How Bright Data helps businesses in the travel sector
3. Scraping airline/flight data
The airline industry implements various ticket pricing such as economy, premium economy, business class, etc. Ticket prices change according to:
- Flight date,
- The number of seats left,
- Itinerary dependencies such as one-way flights,
- Sales volume like off-peak times, etc.
Web scraping helps airline companies understand current airline market conditions, offer personalized prices to customers, and manage customers’ demands. Web scraping bots extract flight data, including flight number, flight duration, ticket price, plane name, arrival/destination time, airline name, etc. Web scraping is used by airlines for:
- Price monitoring: Price monitoring is crucial to keep up with the competition in the airline industry. It helps airline companies to understand market demand and supply and improve demand management based on current market conditions. A web scraping tool can be used to analyze current market conditions.
- Analyzing market share: Scraped flight data can be used to analyze the current airline market conditions. It allows airline companies to
- Understand how their competitors are doing by analyzing their market share in the total airline industry share.
- Pinpoint growing investment areas in the airline industry.
- Analyze top players in the competition and understand how they differentiate their products and services.
- Improve growth strategy to increase your company’s visibility.
How to scrape flight price information from websites
Assume you want to get the most recent flight price information. Flight prices can be found using a travel booking platform or airline companies’ websites.
- Select a date range to see all available flight tickets.
- Copy the website’s URL.
- Paste the URL into the web scraping bot and run it.
- The bot will extract all the required information.
- Depending on your needs, specify the scraping time, such as every 120 minutes, day, or week. The web scraping bot will refresh the scraped flight prices regularly.
- Convert the extracted data into the desired format.
4. Analyzing travel/tourism trends
Suppose you are in the travel and tourism industry. In that case, your competitors are most likely using social media channels effectively for campaigns, brand building, and other purposes to improve their online presence. Web scraping bots:
- Extract trending topics and hashtags on social media platforms.
- Aggregate travel news from blogs/travel sites.
- Monitor competitors’ social media channels.
How to scrape travel and tourism trends from websites
Let’s go over an example; assume you own a boutique hotel located in New Orleans. When you search “boutique hotels in New Orleans” many boutique hotels will appear in search results based on your search terms, reviews, ratings, and other factors (see Figure 3).
A quick tip: You can search for keywords that your hotel is trying to rank in Google search results, such as “boutique hotels for couples,” “boutique hotels for families,” “boutique hotels with child-friendly” etc.
Figure 3: Shows the search results for a “boutique hotels in New Orleans” query
The search result will allow your business to identify its top competitors who rank in your target keywords. You can check their websites and click on social media accounts on the website. Web scraping bots helps businesses collect publicly available hotel data from different social media platforms for trend analyzing. The following information can be collected from social media platforms:
- Keywords/hashtags: Search for your brand target keywords, location-specific hashtags, audience-specific hashtags, etc.
- Comments: Post date, post URL, comments, and likes.
- Profiles: Followers, following, Username, profile URL, etc.
5. Collecting travel related location data
According to Google, “near me” or “nearby” searches have increased by 150%. When people search for a restaurant, hotel, vacation rental, or flights they use search engine’ maps to find the places in their areas. They search for “restaurants near me” or “hotels near me,” for example. This makes search engine maps data critical for businesses.
When I search for “vacation rentals in Texas” Google Maps displays many vacation rentals in the searched area (see Figure 4). Results can also be sorted by rating. Google Maps data is an excellent resource for connecting customers with businesses. Web scraping bots collect information about real estate, hotels, restaurants, vacation rentals, etc. Companies can use Google Maps to scrape their competitors’ location details, customer ratings, and reviews.
Figure 4: Google Maps search result for “vacation rentals in Texas”
How to scrape travel & tourism data from Google Maps
- Search for a specific keyword, such as “hotels in California”.
- Scrape all business listings on each Google Map search result.
- The web scraping bot scrapes each search result page individually.
- On Google Map pages, the scraper extracts all available data by category, such as business names, website addresses, location details, customer ratings and reviews, service descriptions, and so on.
- Download all scraped pages as CSV, XLSX, or other formats.
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If you believe your company could benefit from a web scraping solution, look through our list of web crawlers to find the best vendor for you.
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