Industry Insights

2 min read

How Fare Aggregators Can Maintain A Competitive Edge with Reliable Proxy Solutions for Data Harvesting

Travel companies, including major players like Airbnb, VRBO, and Ryanair, constantly battle to stay competitive.

According to some estimates, airlines can change prices every two-and-a-half days. Likewise, Airbnb has a feature called "smart pricing", which hosts can turn on to automatically adjust nightly prices daily.

Travel fare aggregators play a crucial role for consumers by presenting them with the cheapest fare and accommodation options. However, their ability to do this depends on how well they can reliably collect large volumes of data.

This, in turn, is dependent on a reliable proxy solution.

A checkered past

Travel companies' relationship with data aggregators has always been somewhat tense.

From the perspective of travel companies, online aggregators can sometimes undermine their one-stop-shop proposition, devalue direct relationships with customers, and emphasise price as the primary product differentiator.

Notably, Expedia delisted American Airlines (AA) in 2011, a feud which initially stemmed from a pricing dispute between AA and another travel aggregator, Orbitz.

It's not always in the best interest of travel companies to have their pricing data listed. As a result, most hotels and airlines take measures to prevent data scraping, including IP bans on addresses automated by bots.

It goes without saying that a fare aggregator that provides inaccurate information will rapidly lose the trust of its users.

Some researchers suggested that "brand loyalty" is especially relevant in the travel industry, with 52% of consumers browsing only a single airline, even when using an aggregator.

Likewise, during the previously mentioned Expedia/AA dispute, site visits to Expedia fell 11% during the time they delisted AA.

Within this context, aggregators cannot afford to undermine their fundamental value proposition with out-of-date information. Instead, they must have the ability to update rates in real time.

What to look for in a proxy solution

This is where reliable proxy servers become crucial for travel compiler companies.

First and foremost, a reliable proxy enables aggregators to bypass IP restrictions that limit or block a data scraper's access to a website.

However, blocking is still possible, so a solid proxy solution should self-heal. Not only does this save your team the headache of replacing IP addresses each time, but it also ensures minimal downtime in data collection, which could affect listing accuracy.

Secondly, a proxy solution should have multiple endpoints around the globe. It's well known that many businesses, including travel companies, will change prices depending on the user's location.

This can cause discrepancies between the aggregator's listing and the actual price for a user. For instance, a user may click through to a travel company's main website only to find the price is different because the aggregator scraped data in one country, but the user is in another.

Therefore, any viable proxy solution for a travel aggregator should enable data to be scraped globally and match relevant prices to the user's location.

Lastly, a proxy solution should be able to handle large amounts of data and scale efficiently. As mentioned previously, pricing data on travel companies can change by the minute, so any proxy solution must scale to handle a vast number of requests quickly -- especially during peak travel seasons.

Choosing the right one

Reliable proxy servers are essential for travel companies and aggregators to gain a competitive edge in the market.

By enabling accurate and real-time data harvesting, bypassing IP restrictions, and handling large amounts of data, proxies can help travel aggregator companies provide the best possible service to their users.

Travel aggregators should carefully consider their proxy solution options to ensure they have a reliable, scalable, and global solution that can help them stay competitive in the ever-changing travel industry.

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