Thousands of commercial airlines, airport operators, travel agents and civil aviation institutions rely on TravelSky Technology Limited for business intelligence and market information on the massive air travel industry in China. TravelSky monitors everything from air passenger flow and distribution to Internet travel platform usage in the market serving 300 million air travelers per year. It also has its sights on overall business competitiveness and industry development.
TravelSky, which has spent the last 30 years fine-tuning its service offering, now provides a comprehensive and powerful information service line and a multi-tier information system to industry players.
Tracking China’s Air Travel Industry
“My team of nine analysts closely monitors the air travel industry in China,” says Joyce Yu, senior manager at TravelSky, “We measure key indicators in the industry and track all aspects of business development.”
The team regularly sieves through 10 terabytes of data consisting almost 100 million rows to pinpoint key performance indicators and unveil any developing trends in the industry. They compile all these into reports and present them to close to 100 client service representatives spread across China. The customer representatives and their customers rely on information provided by Yu’s team when they make crucial business decisions in resource planning, flight planning, business projection, etc.
Yu says Tableau has been a tremendous help as she and her team are now able to present a clear and concise picture showing nationwide commercial air travel patterns and trends in a very timely manner. Time taken from data to reporting has shortened tremendously despite the TravelSky team currently presenting a much more analytical and in-depth view of the data.
“Prior to adopting Tableau, two specialists on my team who monitors market competition would take the first two weeks of each month to compile, sort and present their data to our clients,” adds Yu.
“These days, they take just one day to sort the data and drop them into Tableau. They then use Tableau to present an analytical view of the data and highlight major developments and competitive trends in the industry. We use another day to check the information to make sure they it is accurate before releasing it to our clients.”
Delivering Analytics and Value-Add
Yu acknowledges that her team is able to provide much more value using Tableau as they now present detailed analytical reports with a point-of-view -- such as highlighting problem areas and alerting on challenges ahead -- compared to delivering raw sets of data in the past.
Through Tableau Server, they are also able to create multiple sites, each presenting a different analytical view that is of interest to a particular group of clients. For instance, what is most relevant to airport operators may not be as interesting to commercial airline administrators.
Clients are able to interact with the Tableau dashboards, asking questions and getting the answers that they need. This has raised overall user experience and her team’s level of service. They have moved from basic data delivery to knowledge sharing, according to Yu.
Changing Work Processes
Another benefit for TravelSky is the time savings. In less than a year, Yu’s team has introduced five new analytical reports designed for different clients. This would not have been possible without Tableau.
“I estimate an overall of 90 percent improvement in time efficiency since using Tableau,” says Yu. “This translates to getting the information out to clients faster, which can have significant impact on their businesses. They rely on the information to make decisions and every minute counts in the travel industry.”
Furthermore, Yu is very pleased that her team has received positive feedback from their clients. Clients have commended them on the reports saying that they have exceeded expectations. The team’s clients also like it that the analysis and information is easy to read and understand, and this is especially useful to users who are new to their role or to the industry.
Seeking a Suitable Partner
TravelSky was looking for a suitable solution to help them crunch the large amount of data before they heard about Tableau from contacts in the travel and tourism industry. Representatives from the industry often get together to exchange ideas and share best practices and it was through these sessions that Yu found out about Tableau.
“We were, at that time, looking for a suitable business intelligence solution to help us delve deeper into the data that we already collect,” Yu explains.“We evaluated a few possible solutions, including some traditional business intelligence tools, and were really impressed with how Tableau was able to get us results in a very short time.”
Yu’s team found Tableau to be an invaluable tool for extracting useful information when working with big data. However, she points out that it can be challenging for new users to fully gain control and get the most out of Tableau because of its flexibility.
TravelSky set up a dedicated committee to explore and try out the product initially. The team studied many online case studies from various industries and extracted what was useful. The information was consolidated into a knowledge pool to be shared within the organization. Yu advises that this is a faster way to get results from Tableau compared to having everyone trying out the product on their own.
Users author interactive visualizations using Tableau Desktop Professional. TravelSky also taps on Tableau Server to effectively deliver reports to users based in different cities across China.
The TravelSky team is exploring the potential to use Tableau Server’s mobile capabilities to deliver visualizations to mobile devices such as the Apple iPad. They are investigating if there is a demand from clients and how mobility can benefit them in their operation.
Today, clients can log in and interact with the dashboards using an Internet browser. They can access the reports and ask questions and get the information they need from the visualizations.
“Each client can look at the same set of data in a different way to get specific, or even new, information that they require,” adds Yu.