User ratings: What they really mean for a travel business
Aravind Ramachandran

User ratings: What they really mean for a travel business

"Please give me a 5 star rating" – my Uber driver tells me as my trip ends. "Rate us 5 stars on TripAdvisor " – says the little index card I found on my hotel room table. "Let's cancel the booking. This place has a very low score. May be dangerous" – says my fellow traveller It is clear that service providers recognize the value of a user rating for future business. Those little nuggets of information at the bottom of a listing indeed do have a significant effect on our purchase decisions. V12Data.com quotes research that as much as 97% of customers factor in reviews from fellow customers into...
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Customer search behavior: How breadth can benefit hotels
Aravind Ramachandran

Customer search behavior: How breadth can benefit hotels

Looking for a phone number in the old days usually meant grappling with a massive telephone directory, which was usually the biggest book in the house. At the very least, you needed to know the name of the person. Commonly used numbers were jotted down in a private telephone book, which represented more information that helped you narrow down the search. Even if you didn't know the whole name, remembering what letter of the alphabet it started with would be greatly helpful. In other words, already possessing some information about what you are looking for in an indexed database will improve th...
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Indian economy's bid for progress through aviation
Aravind Ramachandran

Indian economy bids for progress through better aviation

Home to 18% of the world's population, India has all the makings of what a booming aviation market should look like. The growing middle class, which currently accounts for 3.5% of the global total (according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report ) is one of the key predictors put forth in the IATA passenger demand forecast model. On the whole, the travel market is projected to grow at around 11.5% at present, hitting $48 billion by 2020.   The Indian Railways , which is a monopoly owned and operated by the Government of India, reports an annual revenue of $25 billion (INR 1.68 trillio...
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When humans crack under stress can AI keep its cool?
Aravind Ramachandran

When humans crack under stress, can AI keep its cool?

When an aircraft hits a snag while in flight and plunges thousands of feet without warning, it is natural for people inside it to be scared. But the only thing that can relieve such fear is timely information with a reasonable assumption of safety. Passengers may typically seek this from the cabin crew, who are extensively trained on customer experience, flight safety and above all, emergency management. In fact, this "reassurance through a human presence" has been the crux of the argument against unstaffed airline cabins, or more accurately a cabin which is staffed by AI powered machines. How...
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This is why airlines are not ready for Bitcoin just yet
Aravind Ramachandran

This is why airlines are not ready for Bitcoin just yet

​ Customer : Can I pay you in bitcoin? Ticket counter agent : Mmm, no. I am sorry. Customer : Why not??? It is the currency of the digital age! Ticket counter agent : I'm sorry, we do not accept bitcoin. Cash or card? Customer : But why not? This conversation could be happening right now, at the ticket counter of any major airline, in any of the busy airports around the world. Interestingly, both parties are quite right and perfectly justified in their positions on the topic. So let us look at both sides of the coin and try to explain why. Bitcoin, despite the initial bad press about being use...
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