Travel semantics: Use of semantic technologies in online travel and tourism industry

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Semanic technologies are used increasingly in online tourism and travel industry. The presentation held at the ITB Berlin at the 6th of March illustrates some semantic technologies and gives information on their status and perspectives. Main application fields in semantics is management of big data, search engine optimization (seo), advertising, internal search technology, mobile applications and destination management. More on travel semantics: www.travel-semantics.com

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Travel semantics: Use of semantic technologies in online travel and tourism industry

  1. 1. Travel Semantics Snippets, Semantics and the Web 3.0: structured and meaningful Data in Online Travel Marketing and Technology Dr. Lars Göhler
  2. 2. o Wilhelm von Humboldt: „Language makes infinite use of finite means.” o Tim Berners Lee: "A new form of Web content that is meaningful to computers will unleash a revolution of new possibilities.”
  3. 3. Semantic Technologies: The Situation o Big and inceasing unstructured web data in travel and tourism offering and advertising make a sensible mining, search and selection almost impossible. o Structured data could make classification and ordering much easier. o With the application of semantic methods, those data can even be „understood“ by machines and complex results yet unexpected can be produced.
  4. 4. Tim Berners Lee: Creator of the World Wide Web „Hi, I invented the world wide web!“ „It can be much more powerful as the semantic web.“ „Link your data, give them a structure and a meaning!“ Photographer: John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  5. 5. For us: a meaningful website
  6. 6. For a machine like Google: a chaos of information Photo: Claudia Hautumm / pixelio.de
  7. 7. What Machines do now: Comparing Structures structure 1 structure 2 apache apache ?Webserver? American Indian? Helicopter? Car? Example:
  8. 8. What machines can do: comparing structures with reference to an ontology Structure 1 Structure 2 concept sign and syntax level meaning, ontology level
  9. 9. Semantic Approach: Example apache apache Concept of a web- server sign and syntax level meaning, ontology level reality
  10. 10. Semantics can do more: Understanding Relations YucatanPaul likes to travel to
  11. 11. …and also complex relations, even between Ontologies source: linkeddata.org
  12. 12. The Semantic Web was „dead“ the last 15 years: Why should it live now? 1. The big search engine providers (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Yandex) want it 2. They use it for internal data organization and mining (Google Graph, Facebook Graph, classified information etc.) 3. It is quite useful for mobile devices 4. It makes sense ;-)
  13. 13. Semantic Technologies in Tourism and Travel: Fields of application o Search and data mining, especially of big data o Mediation between several data formats o Marketing (SEO) and online public relations o Destination marketing e.g. by linked geodata o Natural Language recognition and – interpretation, e.g. on mobile devices o Knowledge representation o Interaction with/between social media
  14. 14. Tim Berners Lee‘s proposal: 5 star deployment scheme Source: 5stardata.info
  15. 15. Status: Semantic Markup in Travel Websites o Few metadata are used by almost every website, describing the company and/or the breadcrumb: tripadvisor, priceline.com, opodo.de, expedia.de, travel24.de, trivago.de o Proprietary markup (Facebook, Twitter): booking.com, expedia.com o General markup of single offers: Yahoo Travel, Expedia.com (geo-coordinates) Germany: weg.de and some sites of unister travel use microdata o More complex or travel-specific markup, e.g. references to Good Relations is hardly to find. o Résumé: Almost no systematic metadata markup is applied in most travel websites.
  16. 16. Status: External Search o Almost all search engines, especially Google „honour“ semantically marked offers by a special presentation, called „snippet“ (search for journey mexico).
  17. 17. Enhanced search results: Display in Yahoo! source: de.slideshare.net/ptarjan/semantic-searchmonkey
  18. 18. Enhanced search results: Googles own listing for „cinema london“
  19. 19. Perspectives: External Search, SEO o enhance search engine presence by marking up offers with metadata o enable search engines to classify data as place, offer, event, transportation, accommodation etc. o describe media as videos and photos by metadata to enable search engines to „understand“ their content o contribute to information systems as knowledge graph etc.
  20. 20. Use of semantic Technologies: Internal Search o Users can search for journey in everyday language: o We can link synonyms to the same meaning and homonyms can be attributed a special meaning. o We can express relationships between those meanings o Search algorithms can react on complex requests: „I want a best rated hotel in the center of Olso with a strong wifi connection and a conference room.“
  21. 21. Use of semantic Technologies: Internal Search yourvisit.com of Expedia zaptravel.com
  22. 22. Use of semantic technologies: Search with Fact-Finder neckermann-urlaubswelt.de (using search technology from fact-finder.de) answer:
  23. 23. Perspectives: Internal semantic Search o Extending the ability of Websites and mobile devices to understand complex queries in natural language o Acoustic speech recognition a semantic basis, especially for mobile devices o Making travel systems understand complex requirements, e.g. „family trip“, „golf journey“, not only time, place and price. o It is said, that semantic searches have a far greater conversion rate.
  24. 24. Status: Mobile Solutions o Tripit (tripit.com): online/mobile travel itinery planner that uses semantic technologies o Trust Score (trustyou.com) big data online reputation management: collects hotel reviews from many web sources on a semantic basis o Desti is a iPad app: semantic search travel companion (yet only available for iOS) o Google Now and Siri develop semantic interpretation of voice recognition
  25. 25. Perspectives: Mobile Solutions o Use of location based services with semantics in tourism and travel is still in its infancy o Native and WebApps can use geodata and mix them with social media, events, user rating by semantic techniques o Regions and destinations can create own travel companions with many locally relevant data
  26. 26. Status: Infrastructural Solutions o The Open Travel Alliance created a complex structured system of travel vocabulary, but only partly transferred to an ontology. o schema.org: general ontology for seach engines, with hierarchy and nesting possibilities, no extensive use of relations, no linked data required o Good Relations: web vocabulary for e-commerce; complex public ontology supported by Google, and Yahoo
  27. 27. Available Solutions: Open Travel Vocabulary (XML-based)
  28. 28. Perspective: XML Schema of OTA „For those companies already using XML Schema, the addition of Ontology and semantics is the next logical step for improvements to the user experience and relevance of results, both within the booking engine and on search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo!. This technology is already being applied in many ways, by many sectors particularly Retail, Health Care, and Government, and is being deployed in Finance and Entertainment.“ (http://thematix.com/xml- travel-schema-ontology 2012)
  29. 29. Perspectives: Infrastructural Solutions o Creating an widely accepted public ontology for travel and tourism, that is easy to use, would have advantages for the user, for companies and for third party applications o Every application can use the published public data without a special interface: the data could get a wider recognition o Can yield much more appropriate search results in search engines o If computers can „understand“ search queries and available data alike, they can construe complex answers and offers.
  30. 30. Perspectives: Strategic Questions 1 o Should companies develop own ontologies or concentrate on using established ones? o Is it better to follow the major search engines or develop an own strategy, say, oriented at open standards? o Will semantic technology be an additional system to manage heterogenous data or does it make sense to develop it as a core technology?
  31. 31. Perspectives: Strategic Questions 2 o Ramanathan V. Guha, Google: “Schema.org was not designed as the only vocabulary. It has no intention of being the vocabulary, it is our vocabulary. It is intended of work alongside of many vocabularies.” (videolectures.net/iswc2013_guha_tunnel) o How could a travel ontology look like: leightweight, comprehensive, fragmented? o Which technique could it use: microdata, RDFa Lite, RDFa full?
  32. 32. If you are afraid to forget your plans: use the 5 star cup Source: w3c.org
  33. 33. Presentation held at the ITB Berlin 2014 by Lars Göhler on March 6th, at 11.30 – 12:00 at the Hall 6.1, eTravel Lab www.eastpress.de Further information on travel semantics on: www.travel-semantics.com Thanks to advice and cooperation of www.leipzig-data.de, Leipzig University

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