Indonesian Travel Startups Use Big Data to Improve Their Businesses

It’s so easy to book a ticket and go travelling these days, thanks to many travel startups available on the market. Open your App Store or Play Store, click the “travel” category, and you’ll be presented with a bunch of travel apps selection. Once you know where you want to go, you can easily open the travel app you’ve downloaded and book a flight or hotel directly from your smartphone. How convenient is that?

However, people don’t use travel apps every day. But, every now and then those travel apps regularly send us personalized messages in a form of emails, notifications, or offers. But just how personalized are these messages?

Well, let’s say you just booked a hotel in Bandung three months ago via travel app called “XYZ”. Then one day you received an email from that travel app, giving you a list of the recommendation of other hotels in Bandung. Basically, they were telling you how it had been too long since you went on your last trip and they want you to pack your bags and travel again.

No, it’s not creepy. It’s actually smart. Everyone loves travelling. But sometimes people need more encouragement to go. And that’s why these travel apps exist.

Aren’t you wondering how they’re able to do that?


Big data digital technology to boost Indonesia’s tourism performance

If your guess is big data, then you’re absolutely right.

The implementation of big data in the travel industry isn’t exactly a new thing. In fact, Indonesia has actually been using the big data Mobile Positioning Data (MPD) digital system to boost tourism performance since October 2016 and is scheduled to serve until 2019.

The MPD digital system is operated by Indonesia’s central statistic agency of BPS. They detect the cellular phones used by visitors entering Indonesian territory from several gates, including from land borders with neighbouring countries. Other than big city airports, the system is also applied in 19 regencies and 46 sub-districts that host Indonesia’s border areas to neighbouring countries as well.

The ministry of tourism will break the data down into more specific information about the visitors, including their length of stay, frequency of their visit, and even their tour activity preferences during their holiday in Indonesia.

Rhenal Kasali, an Indonesian marketing guru from the University of Indonesia, said to that the official data provided by the BPS would not only be useful in analyzing tour markets and outlining policies in the sector, but also essential for those who indulging tourism business to expand their business.

It turns out the Indonesian government isn’t the only one who will benefit from this MOD digital system. With processed information resulted from data, travel agents and hotels would be able to prepare resources and proper accommodations for the visitors. For instance, it has been noted that foreign visitors are more likely to book their travel packages in Indonesia through digital applications in advance using their gadgets. No wonder travel apps are very popular these days.


Traveloka – Getting to know its customers better

One of the most popular travel apps in Indonesia is Traveloka. And they’ve been using big data to get to know their customers better, thus they could improve their products and services.

Busyra Oryza, Traveloka’s Communications Executive, spoke to about how big data plays a key role in understanding their customers’ needs. By analyzing big data, Traveloka is able to see the customers’ patterns, preferences, behaviour along with trends so that they could provide products and services that are not only the best but also suitable to them, tailored to their needs and taste.

Out of all features and services offered by Traveloka, the “Price Alerts” has become one of the most successful ones. This feature aims to ease customers into finding the most affordable airfare on their desired date and route. Customers will receive an alert whenever the prices match their budget via push notification and email, on a daily or weekly basis.

But in order to make the most out of big data machine, Traveloka realized that they needed advanced technology and a lot of resources. This had become one big challenge for Traveloka. But, thankfully they came up with a solution, which was creating solid teams who are in charge of data engineering and software engineering. All recruited employees are said to be the best of the best; some of them were graduated from A-list universities, some of them have even worked at Silicon Valley companies.


Pegipegi – Making the right strategic decision for business

Other than Traveloka, there’s also another Indonesian travel startup that gets benefits from the big data machine, which is Pegipegi. In an interview with, Devi Agustina, Pegipegi’s Public Relations & Media Office, used the word “treasure” as a metaphor for big data. On a daily basis, Pegipegi uses this “treasure” to help them come up with the right strategic decisions to scale their business, whether it’s for marketing strategies, creating promotion programs with clients, or predicting customers trends.

If Traveloka’s big data implementation helped them create the Price Alerts feature, Pegipegi uses big data to provide Personal Newsletter feature based on their customers’ behaviours and characteristics. Also, by using data about their customers’ transaction behaviour, Pegipegi can now offer the best promo and travel packages that are really suitable for the customers’ preferences.

However, although Pegipegi’s features seem seamless for customers, there’s actually a lot of effort involved. But, Pegipegi didn’t follow Traveloka’s step to building new engineering teams. Instead, they developed an integrated system that has a big enough capacity to handle all of their data. Pegipegi will use these data whenever they need new insights to make the right strategic decisions.

Today’s digital environment has created more competition for the travel business than ever before. People prefer to use their smartphone to type and click on their travel plans rather than to actually use it to make a phone call, especially when it comes to booking a flight or hotel. This is where travel apps emerge.

In order to stay relevant, they need to provide products and services that speak directly to their customers. In this case, data is central to nearly every operational decision a travel app makes today. Bravo for Traveloka and Pegipegi for making the most out of big data technology for their apps!

Sarah is a social media content writer for Sonar Platform, currently majoring in Public Relations at the London School of Public Relations, Jakarta

About Sarah Putri 124 Articles
Sarah is a social media content writer for Sonar Platform, currently majoring in Public Relations at the London School of Public Relations, Jakarta

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