Making Sense of Data, a Regional Perspective

Ellen and Guido joined X. Festival 2021 to discuss a recently launched data hub for tourism in the Netherlands.

MarketingOost is a DMO in the east of the Netherlands. They represent 7 brands in 7 regions. They operate through 4 departments of branding, area developments, supply developments and smart data. The smart data department focuses on data collection, data manipulation, and building models to create actionable insights.

Ellen Ruiter, Advisor and Researcher and Guido Wapstra, Junior Research Advisor at MarketingOost joined X. Festival 2021 to discuss a recently launched data hub for tourism in the Netherlands.

MarketingOost is a DMO in the east of the Netherlands. They represent 7 brands in 7 regions. They operate through 4 departments of branding, area developments, supply developments and smart data. The smart data department focuses on data collection, data manipulation, and building models to create actionable insights.

Ellen reflected on the need for creating a data hub and data-driven strategies, which led to creating a data hub. Today, decisions are increasingly made with the use of data from agriculture to healthcare. MarketingOost saw an opportunity to create a data hub to connect and share tourism data from which the industry and other stakeholders can benefit. Ellen explained that by combining different data sets, they could create insights with a multidisciplinary perspective for the tourism industry in the Netherlands. MarketingOost primarily collaborated with the government, stakeholders in the tourism industry and entrepreneurs.

Following Ellen’s explanation of MarketingOoSt vision for creating a data hub, Guido presented the audience with a thorough explanation of working with a data hub. Guido explained that data could be arranged in different formats, including:

  1. Data warehouses that are structured data portability focused on decision making.
  2. Data lakes that unstructured designed for data professionals and analysts focused on deep learning and AI
  3. Data hubs are also structured for data portability purposefully designed for people and apps, integrity and speed of sharing data.

Guido continued presenting the recently launched data by MarketingOost. The data hub provides a comprehensive view of information products such as a tourism possibility map, which demonstrates a map and geographical information. The data hub also presents specifically designed data dashboards with interactive maps for stakeholders to navigate and find regional specific information. Additionally, the data hub includes an open data source of most requested information dedicated to culture, nature, infrastructure and the tourism industry. Open data, as the name suggests in available to all. Information on the open data can be found through a search engine and a filtering system. MarketingOost also facilitates access to data for projects.

Guido explained that while having to access data is valuable, knowing how to use it is equally important. Therefore, at MarketingOost, they have created a guideline for the data hub users on how to use the hub and combine the information with other data hubs. The data hub itself was initially built as a data block structure which was later integrated with ArcGIS data and maps to present geographical information.

Ellen further elaborated on sharing their learnings from creating the data hub. They developed a communication plan with parties, including the national tourism board, and hope that DMOs on a regional and national scale can work with a data-driven vision. Ellen mentioned that although the data hub was recently published, stakeholders have already responded to it.

Key Takeaways

1. Structuring data in various forms such as warehouses, lakes and hubs serve different purposes and can be used by users with digital proficiency levels.

2. Data portability, integrity and speed of sharing depend on the data structures.

3. Integrating search engines and filtering features in data sources allows users easier access to specific content.

4. Guideline on using data hubs can be very beneficial for users to navigate the structure easily, access the data, and make the most of the available information.

Published on:
December 2021
About the contributor

Ellen Ruiter


Ellen Ruiter is an Advisor and Researcher at MarketingOost, a DMO in the east of The Netherlands. She’s been working in the tourism industry for the last 10 years, in different operational and research functions.

Guido Wapstra

Guido Wapstra is a Junior Research Advisor at MarketingOost. His primary focus is data management and data analysis. He developed the Datahub Overijssel in collaboration with Ellen Ruiter which is the first tourism Datahub in the Netherlands.