The Most Prevalent Bots in Online Travel Industry

More than half of all web traffic is automated which means that on average every other visit to your web application is non-human. Every OTA will have an extensive collection of travel listings, pricing data, and hotel reviews. Your competitors are always on the run to scrape 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.

Not all bots are bad; there are some bots will help your website get more visibility and also helps you improve your search engine ranking.

In this blog, we have listed the most common bots in the OTA industry that visit OTA websites:

1. Search Engine Spiders

Search engine spiders are those who crawl our sites such as Googlebot and Bing bot, consuming resource and bandwidth, indexing the pages to learn what they are about to make them more searchable. Search engine spiders are considered favorable for your website as they help you improve your search engine ranking.

2. Price Scrapers

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.

3. Unwanted GDS Query Bots

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 increase. The fake GDS queries can be used to scrape pricing data by your competitors, may certainly never let you generate a legitimate booking.

4. Skewing Bots

Bad bots 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 additional searches, but resulting poor GDS ratio will negatively impact your site reputation with your GDS partners.

5. Loyalty Point Grabbers

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.

6. Carding Fraud Bots

Fraudsters run thousands of small purchases using stolen credit cards and then resell these cards at a much 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.

Above mentioned are the most popular bots in the online travel industry, and malicious bots will have a negative impact on your website and your business. It is advisable first to detect what kind of bots are hitting your site and what is the reason behind, then you can take much appropriate action.