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Travel tech explained: Geography

Jun 21, 2018

You probably know we're not talking capital cities and tectonic plates when we say 'geography'. When it comes to marketing hotels, your geographical data can have a big impact on your conversion rate. So, we're taking a look at why it's so important to fully understand geography and to keep it updated.


Defining geography

In travel tech terms, we're talking about using data to identify and define all the different geographical features, categories and places that travelers use to search for hotels. So when we talk about 'geography', we mean the boundaries that define geographical entities – the definition of any particular place. What does that look like? In short: polygons that define the geographical boundaries for any given place – a country, a region or a city.


The importance of tailoring your geography

The way that you define a geographical entity depends on the nature of your business. One destination can be two very different places to two different travel businesses.

For example, if you're operating in the leisure market then it's important to have optimized definitions of 'California' and 'Los Angeles' that return properties that are popular with holidaymakers, as well as plenty of selection around 'Anaheim' and 'Disneyland'. On the other hand, a travel management company (TMC) will need definitions that focus on key business traveler hotspots, such as airports, conference centers and financial districts.

It's about precision too; to make sure that you're providing the right results for a traveler who searches for 'Paris', you need an optimized set of data points to create a bounding polygon for the French capital. You also need that definition to factor in user intent and identify that the subject is Paris, France as opposed to Paris, Texas.


The benefits of regularly updating your geography

Imagine a traveler carries out a hotel search for 'Vatican City'. You need a precisely defined geography dataset alongside your hotel supply to make sure you're not returning irrelevant hotels to traveler searches, and that you are providing a complete selection of relevant ones. With EPS's intelligent geography that might look like this:


Particularly if you have more than one hotel supplier, it's essential to have your geography in good shape so that you can easily map properties from multiple suppliers to your travelers' search queries. More than that – updating your geography is also vital to growth. Adding new accommodations to your supply is an important part of growing your hotels revenue; but you can only be sure that travelers can find those hotels if you know your definitions are updated accordingly.

And once you're using EPS's intelligent geography you can manipulate it according to the needs of your business.


EPS's intelligent geography

We have a dedicated geography team focused on unlocking the potential of this data to help our partners continually optimize their hotel marketing. So EPS's geography is precisely defined, highly optimized and wide-ranging – we have 550,000 definitions and counting, all informed by where travelers search and where they want to stay. And we update those definitions all the time according to traveler metrics and our growing number of hotels – this year alone we've added more than 100,000 geography definitions as we expand our number of accommodations all over the world. That means optimized polygons for places around the world, adjusted every day. 

With EPS's intelligent geography you get just that for everything from a neighborhood or point of interest to a city or country. So when a traveler searches 'Vatican City' you can return hotels in Rome, rather than a simplistic data response that would simply return no hotels because there aren't any in that destination.


So how does geography work?

At EPS we've used our years of experience at the forefront of travel tech to make our geography not just powerful, but easy to use. So we've done away with complex database tables and created a set of APIs that allow you to access more than 550,000 definitions.

You simply make calls to different APIs depending on the nature of the request; two APIs for geography and two for airports. This allows you to create and optimize your geography database. This, in turn, lets you take full advantage of cross-sell opportunities, and it allows for the very different ways in which travelers search based on airports compared with cities or touristic points of interest.