travel fare monitoring

Travel Fare Monitoring: The Why And How?

In pursuit of profitability, airlines, private passenger rail operators, and bus companies often change the prices of their tickets. Usually, this practice is fueled by demand – low demand causes low fare prices and vice versa – and supply, i.e., the availability of seats – less booked seats force the operators to reduce the fares. What this creates are uncertainty and price fluctuations. And if you are traveling on a budget, it is advisable to use tools that monitor different operators’ fares to notify you of price changes, particularly price reductions.

Travel Fare Monitoring

Travel fare monitoring refers to the process of tracking different travel operators’ and airlines’ websites to identify price changes or discounts. There are two main ways of undertaking this monitoring form: automated and manual.

Automated travel fare monitoring involves the use of tools known as web scrapers. On the other hand, manual monitoring mainly entails visiting each site individually and navigating to the pages that contain the fare prices. When you consider that a single destination can have tens of airlines or bus companies serving it, each with its own website, you will agree with me that manual monitoring of the fares can be quite taxing.

Of course, nowadays you can buy tickets via an online travel agency, but again these companies exist in tens if not hundreds. This means manual monitoring is also not the most feasible approach. Also, did you know that travel agencies use automated travel fare monitoring to monitor how much airlines, rail operators, and bus companies have priced their tickets? So, travel fare monitoring is often used when referring to automated tracking.

Purpose of Travel Fare Monitoring

Generally, companies and individuals undertake travel fare monitoring because of the following reasons:

• Identify cheap flights and tickets
• Discover price drops
• Travel fare aggregation
• Market research

Identify cheap tickets

Traveling can be costly, especially if you purchase a ticket just a few days or hours before travel. This is why it is advisable to make bookings many weeks before traveling. However, if it is impossible to book your seat weeks in advance, you could use travel far monitoring tools. These tools extract travel pricing data from different operators’ and aggregators’ sites enabling you to identify cheap tickets.

Discover Price Drops

You can elect to have the tools track the prices for a given ticket in order to uncover updates such as price drops and discounts. This way, you can identify the best possible deal.

Travel Fare Aggregation

Companies that provide travel fare aggregation services also use monitoring tools. These solutions track pricing data and subsequently extract it. It is this data collected from different sources that you encounter whenever you visit a travel fare aggregator’s site.

Market Research

You can also use travel fare monitoring tools to uncover trends in the aviation and travel sector. For instance, you can collect pricing data over a prolonged period in order to establish seasonal changes and how seasons impact demand and supply.

How to Conduct Travel Fare Monitoring

Generally, travel fare monitoring is conducted using web scraping tools. In essence, web scraping refers to collecting or extracting data from websites. The term mainly refers to automated data collection forms using bots known as web scrapers. In the context of travel price monitoring, the web scraper focuses on extracting pricing data from the websites of airlines or rail and bus operators.

However, conventional web scrapers have some shortcomings. Firstly, they are primarily designed to deal with HTML. This means they are not equipped to extract data from JavaScript-heavy websites, yet such websites nowadays make up many active websites. Secondly, the web scrapers only extract data from the sites included in the instructions. This means they do not have the capacity to discover websites. At the same time, conventional web scrapers do not have built-in proxy servers and proxy rotators, nor do they have CAPTCHA-solving capabilities.

Advanced Web Scrapers

Fortunately, you can overcome these shortcomings by using advanced web scrapers, such as the web scraper API, that are designed to facilitate successful web scraping. For example, the web scraper API can extract data from hundreds of travel sites simultaneously, solve CAPTCHA puzzles, and rotate assigned IP addresses through a proxy rotator, thus preventing IP blocking. Additionally, it can render JavaScript-heavy websites. Visit Oxylabs to learn more about the web scraper API.

Conclusion

Travel fare monitoring enables travelers to uncover favorable price changes and discounts. Travel fare aggregators also use it to collect travel pricing data that they then display on their respective sites. Ordinarily, web scraping tools are used to extract this data. However, some are not equipped to deal with technologies, such as CAPTCHAs, that are built into modern websites. For this reason, it is important to use advanced web scrapers that can render JavaScript-heavy sites, solve CAPTCHA puzzles, deploy proxy rotators, and more.

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