The Impact of Bad Bots on Online Travel Industry

The term web scraping and travel Ecommerce have become synonyms because of the immense opportunity in the global travel industry and the intense competition to stay ahead.

If you own a travel or an Online Travel Agency (OTA) website, then you should be aware of the term ‘Scraping.' Every OTA will have an extensive collection of travel listings, pricing data, and hotel reviews. Your competitors are always on the run to grab your listings and pricing data, trying to pull down your website with malicious bots that scrape not only your website content but also pricing data, create fake booking and accounts. Web scraping is the most significant problem for Online Travel Agencies; this can probably ruin your business revenue if necessary actions are not taken.

Impacts of Bad Bots on Online Travel Websites

  1. Price Scraping Can Damage your Brand and Sales
    Price scraping is particularly dangerous for an OTA, here even a few dollars difference in pricing can determine who gets the sale. Giving your competitors access to your pricing affords them the chance to outbid you and outsell you in your marketplace. Ultimately, it could affect your overall sales and brand value.

  2. Unwanted GDS Queries
    Bots can generate hundreds of unwanted queries for hotel rooms, flight tickets so that your OTA site incurs unnecessary charges. Due to those unwanted queries made by bots, the cost imposed on the GDS will be increased. The fake GDS queries can be used to scrape pricing data by your competitors, may certainly never let you generate a legitimate booking.

  3. Skewed Look-to-Book Ratio
    Web bots can make excess web requests for checking hotel rooms or flight availability with prices to an OTA. This, in turn, will have a negative impact on your look-to-book ratio and significantly inflate prices on your website. Aside from your loss of business, the additional search volume is captured on your website analytics. You are not only charged for the extra searches, but resulting poor GDS ratio will negatively impact your site reputation with your GDS partners.

  4. Losing Customer Data & Loyalty Reward Points
    Fraudsters or hackers gain access to your customer-only areas such as loyalty programs by using brute force attack techniques like credential stuffing and credential cracking. Loyalty points are always a significant target for bots as these points can be quickly converted to cash or used to purchase rooms/tickets. Bots can steal your customer data and loyalty reward points without notifying, costs you money and frustrate your customers.

  5. Carding Fraud
    Hackers run thousands of small purchases using stolen credit cards and then resell these cards at a higher price, also crack your customer's gift cards to cash out the balances via account takeover and card cloning. They send malicious bots to test stolen card data on merchant sites. With the legitimate data, they can retrieve funds from an account and obtain goods without payment.

  6. Website Slowdown and Downtime your Business
    Aggressive bad bots put a considerable strain on website infrastructure, with all excess amount of traffic on your OTA website. Because you are not expecting massive spikes in traffic, you cannot provision accordingly. Random spikes increase page load times resulting in downtime and inflict further damage on SEO rankings.

Benefits of Bot Mitigation Solution for Travel Websites

Stop price scraping, carding fraud, and other automated threats via bot mitigation solution by InfiSecure. InfiSecure detects and blocks OTA scraping bots in real-time and provides continuous protection for your website against all automated threats.

  1. Protect your Website Content and Pricing - By adapting InfiSecure’s OTA scraping protection, you will be able to protect your unique content and prices, preserve your SEO rankings.

  2. Safeguard your Customer data and Loyalty points – Prevent bots from entering the customer-only areas of your website with InfiSecure's bot mitigation solution. Stop automated bots from accessing your customer data and loyalty points.

  3. Reduce GDS Fees and Protect Look-to-Book Ratio – InfiSecure ensures that only legitimate users using verified browsers can access your booking engine, thereby stopping bots from accessing travel packages provided by API calls to GDS.

  4. Prevent Carding Fraud – InfiSecure blocks carding bots in real-time, prevents credit card fraud, gift card, and payment fraud.

  5. Prevent Website Slowdown & Downtime – By removing bad bot traffic from your OTA website, you will experience real genuine user traffic that is predictable. Reduces page load times and website downtime.

Scraping is a serious issue that every OTA owner should be aware of. By having a bot mitigation solution in place, online travel companies eliminate scraping and block all OWASP automated threats.