More than half (51%) of travelers are influenced by discounts and great deals when deciding what ticket to buy or hotel to book. One of the many ways such individuals or travel companies can discover deals is by visiting travel fare aggregation sites. These sites thrive in finding the cheapest tickets available, which they then display to travelers or travel companies in exchange for a fee. Proxies are extremely fundamental to the success of travel fare aggregation, and in this article, we’ll detail why. We’ll also detail the challenges associated with travel fare aggregation and how to overcome them using residential proxies.
Travel Fare Aggregation
Travel fare aggregation should not be confused with travel booking sites. This is because the former encompasses websites that rely on web crawling and web scraping to scour the internet and search engines to identify the best deals possible. They then display these deals, providing travelers with cheaper options.
On the other hand, travel booking sites usually enter into agreements with airlines, passenger train services, bus companies, and hotels. These agreements allow them to display the ticket prices on their sites. They then charge the travelers a fee for making their work easier.
It is worth mentioning that travel fare aggregators often scrape data from online travel booking websites in order to identify the lowest prices. This points to the importance of web scraping, whose success relies on proxies such as residential proxies.
How Travel Companies Benefit from Web Scraping
Data scraping provides not only data on the cheapest fare and ticket prices but also insights into the travel industry as a whole. Here’s more on the benefits that travel companies can draw from using web scrapers.
- Saves time and effort: the use of automated bots reduces the time and effort it takes to collect data from thousands of websites
- Accuracy: Unlike manual data collection, which is susceptible to low accuracy due to human errors, web scraping is highly accurate because it is carried out by bots
- Structure: web scraping provides access to parsed and structured data. Simply, this process converts unstructured data that is distributed across thousands of sites into a structured format that is stored in a single downloadable file.
- Market research: web data extraction provides access to data that lets you understand various aspects that are characteristic of a given market. For instance, you can retrieve information on seasonal fluctuations in airline fares and data on flight delays. In addition, the data offers insights on the number of companies – travel booking sites, airlines, passenger train operators, and more.
- Understanding travelers: In addition to understanding other companies that operate within the travel space, travel businesses can use data scraping to understand their customers. They can scrape review sites and social media accounts to obtain information on what travelers look for. They can then use this information to tailor their services and improve the customer experience.
- Price optimization: by scraping publicly available data, hotel owners and airline operators can identify how much their competitors charge. They can then optimize their prices accordingly.
Challenges Affecting Travel Fare Aggregation
Due to its reliance on web scraping, travel fare aggregation is not always smooth sailing. This is because scrapers are impacted by certain factors, which constitute challenges impacting travel fare aggregation. These include:
Websites display location-specific data, which complicates market research. With residential proxies, however, businesses can access any location. This is because these proxies route traffic through the devices of residents (consenting real users) living in the country whose data the travel company needs. This arrangement “tricks” the servers into thinking the requests originate from real users, meaning the geo-blocking is not activated.
To protect the data stored in their servers and to limit the number of bot traffic, websites usually implement anti-bot and anti-scraping techniques. These include CAPTCHAs, IP blocking, honeypot traps, user agents, headers, and more. However, advanced scrapers circumvent anti-scraping methods by using residential proxies, proxy rotators, and headless browsers. Residential proxies, for instance, prevent IP blocking as web servers associate them with real users. Similarly, rotators limit the number of requests originating from the same address.
Some websites contain outdated information that could even be a few hours old. To deal with this problem, scrapers should extract data in real time.
Travel companies and travel fare aggregation firms benefit greatly from web scraping. It saves time, facilitates market research, promotes price optimization, and more. At the same time, however, it is impacted by a few challenges. These include complex websites, anti-scraping techniques, geo-restriction, and outdated information. Fortunately, these issues can be resolved using, among other technologies, residential proxies, advanced scrapers, and headless browsers.