Back in the good old days, say around 20 years ago, airline systems had a 10:1 ratio of searches to actual bookings.
Fast forward to 2015 and a metric of such apparent efficiency is extremely hard to come by now.
In fact, it’s nigh on impossible.
Amadeus says over the course of the last two decades the look-to-book ratios for many airline systems have climbed to somewhere in the region of 1,000:1.
This leap has been as a result of a number of important factors.
The switch to digital and online services by consumers has obviously seen the entry of online travel agencies and metasearch engines in the equation, but in turn these now send millions of call queries to airlines systems to obtain information on fares and availability on flights.
But, according to Christophe Defayet, director of research and developer for airline IT at Amadeus, consumer habits in general have also had a major impact on the volume of information required from an airline’s system.
Previously, a traveller would potentially have just one destination and a specific time in mind when they search for a ticket.
But in the last five years in particular, travellers are considering more products, are flexible on their schedules, and seeking ideas and fares for multiple destinations.
Add the complexity around the fares themselves, such as the inclusion of ancillary products, then the volume increases even further.
The result for the airlines can often be a creaking system under the weight of traffic, but arguably a more important factor is the fact that results being returned to the consumer are not entirely accurate.